Unitasker Wednesday: Cheese Button

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

An acquaintance asked me the other day what I would do for a career if I suddenly couldn’t do what I do. Her hypothetical situation included not only writing, but the consulting and lecturing aspects of my job as well.

I thought about her question for a few seconds and then replied, “I think I’d be a cheesemonger or a cheese maker.”

I was being sincere about this, too. I love cheese. I love studying cheese and making cheese and eating cheese and pairing cheeses. When I go to France to visit family, the trips are most often organized around visiting cheese shops. Every time I’m in New York, I have to stop at Murray’s (I’m partial to the Village location). I love coffee and wine and cooking, but I think cheese would beat these other passions out for a career.

Understanding my love of cheese, you should then understand my confusion for the Cheese Button:

From the product description:

Our informal survey indicates that 4 out of 5 people prefer their cheese without fingerprints.

Um, huh? What? In all of my study of cheese and consumption of it, I have never thought fingerprints on cheese were a problem. In fact, I’m not sure how you could move this in and out of the cheese without getting fingerprints on the cheese. Wouldn’t you have to hold the cheese to have enough resistance to push in and pull out the Cheese Button, thus leaving fingerprints on the cheese?

And, maybe I’m strange, but I don’t touch cheese when I slice into it. The pressure I exert on the knife is usually enough to keep the cheese in place. Who is touching cheese and leaving their fingerprints on it? Who are you cheese touchers? And, more importantly, who are the four out of five of you who are upset about fingerprints on cheese?

I’m baffled.

Thanks to reader Vikki for finding this unitasker for us.

35 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Cheese Button”

  1. posted by Rev. Back It On Up 13 on

    Does this mean that one in five people prefer fingerprints in their cheese?

  2. posted by Norm on

    Even if you do touch the cheese when slicing, and your friends & family don’t like finger prints, I don’t understand why a fork is deemed unsuitable for the job?

  3. posted by Jeff Wittenhagen on

    Simple answer to your question. They went up to random people on the street and said, “Would you like it if someone touched your cheese?” 4 times out of 5 people say no. LOL

  4. posted by Amy on

    I kind of see why you don’t want to touch cheese if possible. When you touch cheese – that’s where mold will grow if you don’t use all the cheese up right away. But I can find a million other things in my kitchen already that could serve the purpose this silly unitasker does, like say oooh a fork?

  5. posted by Drea on

    For some reason, the people in my office LOVE to snack on cheese (I guess because it’s good…). Anyway, we were sharing a block of dubliner yesterday and it did cross my mind that it was a little gross that everyone was handling the block while slicing. But, yeah, why wouldn’t a fork suffice? And doesn’t that cheese knob thing kind of make it hard to cut when the cheese gets smaller? Hmmm

  6. posted by Jen on

    It strikes me that without the picture showing the button actually placed on the cheese, I would have absolutely no idea what these things were for. I really could not imagine a use for this item. I’ve served a cheese plate at many gatherings over the years and never been bothered by the possiblity of other people touching the cheese. Probably because, as you mention, it doesn’t usually happen.

  7. posted by Diane on

    Googling “cheese buttons” brings up some yummy-sounding recipes, which is what I thought it would be when I first saw the title in my reader (before I realized it was a unitasker column).

    However, it also turns up some animal head cheese buttons, which make more sense. The description: “A goat, a cow and a sheep head, to indicate which cheese is which.” Rather clever and cute.

    I usually hold my cheese in the wrapper, and push out just enough to slice. I guess I don’t eat much posh cheese. =)

  8. posted by NoAlias on

    I would also like to point out that the cheeses in the picture have rinds. One’s fingerprints would be on the inedible waxy part of the cheese, so who cares?

    If there is no rind, I agree with Diane, above, and hold the cheese with wrapper.

  9. posted by Erin on

    Oh no. I have some of these–in my defense it was a gift or part of a “set” with special knives, etc. And it is clutter (and I think one of the little teeth broke off). I’m going home to throw it away now. Thanks.

  10. posted by Lee on

    Double shame. I may have one of those. Shame for having it and shame for not being able to find it but thinking it’s around here someplace.

    Actually, it was part of a 2 piece “Christmasy” set – a little knife with a tree at the end for spreading soft cheese or pate and something else with prongs at the end. Now I know what it was for.

    I don’t always leave the rind on when I put cheese out for a buffet, so would prefer not to have people touching the cheese. And not every knife I’ve encountered has cut the cheese easily. Still, I’ve never noticed people touching the cheese, but do notice doubledipping the same chip in the dip.

  11. posted by lisa on

    who touched my cheese…..makes me think of the book WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?

  12. posted by Larry Lewis on

    ‘Why did the cheese lose a fight with a stone – Because the ROQUEFORT back’. What struck me was your first line where you say “An acquaintance asked me the other day what I would do for a career if I suddenly couldn’t do what I do”. Two years ago i underwent major eye surgery, and was told i must not perform rigorous exercise for a year. Great, I could take it easy. No! I am a gym instructor. What to do? Could of gone down the cheese route, but i made a right Mozzarella of it and chose to start blogging. Well i’m now back on the gym floor, and i’m still blogging, and life couldn’t be better

  13. posted by Visty on

    Cheese Touchers! They are married to the Double Dippers.

  14. posted by Dea on

    Ha, Visty–thanks for the laugh!

  15. posted by Wendy on

    So, I think your intro is a lead-in to a ‘cheese for newbies’ simplifried post. I long to try the interesting cheeses from our natural grocers, but i never have time to ask questions or money to gamble, so I stick with my favorite aged cheddars and colby-jack. How about an intro to cheese guide?

  16. posted by ccherry on

    Wendy the Splendid Table has a cheesemonger that is on the show every 6 weeks or so. Visit their website and you’ll get fun little bits of cheese info.

  17. posted by Jean on

    Is there perhaps a slot in the cheese buttons where you could insert a card with information? That could include the name of the cheese and the country it’s from.

    Then this would make sense.

  18. Avatar of

    posted by chacha1 on

    Most of the time when we have a cheese board out, we also have a couple open bottles of wine out. Oddly enough, no-one seems to mind if something touches the cheese.

    If I had a germaphobe coming, that person probably wouldn’t want to eat cheese that was OUT IN THE OPEN AIR OMG!?!? LOL

    For all others, I’d think a strip of waxed paper wrapped around the cheese block would work better than anything else.

  19. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    This is why I would use a cheese button-dirty fingers!

    http://www.ukmeat.org/FSAMeat/Handwashing.htm

    A fork would work just as well but someone is bound to use the fork for picking up the deli meats resulting in cross-contaminating the cheese.

  20. posted by Gumnos on

    Our informal survey indicates that 4 out of 5 people prefer their cheese without fingerprints.

    For all we know, they interviewed one person 5 times. It may have gone a little something like

    CheeseButtonCo: Can I touch your cheese?
    PersonInCafé: No.
    CBC: Can I touch your cheese?
    PIC: No!
    CBC: Can I touch your cheese?
    PIC: No!!
    CBC: Can I touch your cheese?
    PIC: No, go away!
    CBC: Can I touch your cheese?
    PIC: Fine, if it will make you go away!

  21. posted by Alisa on

    Erin,
    What are your top three favorite cheeses? I love cheese too, I don’t think as much as you do though. My daughter Hates cheese. She’ll actually run away from it.

  22. posted by Marie on

    I’m distracted by the prongs sticking into the cheese. They look like they’d make large holes. I’m more grossed out by the prongs inserting who-knows-what into my cheese than the thought of someone else touching them. Poor cheese, being stabbed like that.

    For those in search of new cheese, I’d recommend trying locally made cheese if you can find them. A freshly-made goat cheese on crackers is to die for. Or a farmhouse cheddar. A good cheese counter might have samples you could try, or be able to cut you very small portions for your own personal cheese plate. My DH and I did a cheese tasting one year – 7 cheeses, plus crackers and fruit. Very eye-opening. Or some recipes ask for certain cheeses, like the avocado with blue cheese baked in the oven. Some cheeses taste better in combination with other foods.

    Oh, and now you’ve got me going on about cheese… What were we talking about? Prongs. Right.

  23. posted by Leonie on

    Erin,
    I didn’t care what the unitasker was. Your post was just so funny. It was great! Thanks for the laugh. And mmmmm….the cheese stalls at the local markets in the arrondisments….mmmmm….yum!

  24. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Alisa — It’s impossible for me to pick just three cheeses. I’d need some kind of structure like, “top three cheeses to eat with a 2009 Californian Pinot Noir,” or “top three cheeses to eat at a picnic with your snobby cousin Edna.” However, and I’m mentioning this because you probably know _exactly_ what I’m talking about, my love for cheese began with Alma Cheese Curds … the yellow cheddar ones … https://shop.almacreamery.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ACL&Category_Code=810

  25. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Visty — AWESOME.

  26. posted by Rachel on

    I’m sure that at least four out of five (possibly the same four) also prefer their cheese without THREE WHOPPING GREAT BIG HOLES in the top

  27. Avatar of

    posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    As someone who can’t have dairy, I gave up cheese a decade ago and I also gave up my cheese cutter. Now I’ve discovered a vegan cheese (soy) and really wish I had that cheese cutter.

    But I digress – I didn’t even know that cheese was susceptible to fingerprints in the first place, after all, it’s not like glass. And besides, my cheese doesn’t last long enough for anything more horrible than being eaten to happen to it.

  28. Avatar of

    posted by recycler on

    I like the idea of labeling the cheese, but why not just use toothpicks for that?

  29. posted by Jen on

    If at a party you don’t want everyone holding the cheese with their hands to slice it, how about corn cob holders for cheese handles? Double-tasker!

  30. posted by Jim on

    @ Jen – I agree, this reminded me also of the sweet corn holders we use – but those are to prevent you from burning your fingers and are quite useful. Good idea – use those to hold your cheese, too!

  31. posted by LauraG on

    Cheese touchers! Maybe it isn’t so much that people want to touch the cheese or don’t want fingerprints on it but that they don’t want to get the “cheese touch” a la Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 2.

  32. posted by JC on

    Um, I have learned to accept the fact that as long as my son is living at home, I will most likely have fingerprints on my cheese. If they are dirty fingerprints, I slice a sliver off to remove the top surface, bar my son from cheese for a period of time (during which I have fingerprintless cheese) and get on with life.

  33. posted by Sarah on

    I was hoping it was along the line of the Staples Easy Button: a magic button that when pushed made the exact type of cheese you were craving appear. (Vermont white cheddar! Chevre with Herbes de Provence! Smoked Gouda!) Cause I would totally buy one of those.

  34. posted by Bob bob on

    What the hell! You all have neglected to mention that this is very unsanitary. I mean what if you put this in the dishwasher and it ended up getting all sorts of other food bits caked on the prongs and then you shoved it into the cheese! Oh my, what sacrilege.

  35. posted by Susie on

    @Sarah – Oh, yes, I’d buy one of those, too. Because that wouldn’t be a unitasker. That would be the BEST THING EVER.

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