Swiss Cheese

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Swiss Cheese

Never question the efficacy and importance of keeping yourself and others safe during the pandemic. However, if you’re questioning your own sanity after more than a year of lockdown, here’s a story you might relate to.

Still dressed in my PJs and after spending all morning in my downstairs office answering emails, it somehow was noon.

I went upstairs for a sandwich: Swiss cheese, fresh tomato, lettuce, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, crusty bread, Bubbies naturally fermented pickle, glass of bubbly water.

Wait. As I stare at the fixings I suddenly cannot assemble the sandwich.

I am flummoxed.

Why does Swiss cheese have holes? In all the years I have eaten the holy Ementaller variety known as Swiss, I have taken its holes for granted.

I am an engineer, for God’s sake. I must know how everything works and why!

(See what I mean? Trapped inside the house I am getting desperate)

Turns out to be kind of simple. The bacteria S. thermophilus and Lactobacillus are responsible for converting milk to cheese by the production of lactic acid. In the Swiss version, which is left to “mature” at 80˚ Fahrenheit, a third bacteria, P. shermani releases carbon dioxide when it consumes the lactic acid, forming gas bubbles.

Basically, the bacteria farts out carbon dioxide and its farts form bubbles in the warm and soft cheese, and voila! Holy Swiss Cheese.

Now, whatever else dull and boring can I unearth as I try and keep myself on top of things when stuck at home?

Reading! Two great book suggestions:

The Body: A guide for occupants by Bill Bryson (which is second only to his first book, my favorite: A Short History of Nearly Everything)

And, if you want to scare the crap out of yourself and consider perhaps losing your phone, computer, and maybe investing in an off-grid home in the woods:

Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. This will explain to you much of what has been happening to our democracy.

ht: Seth Godin for the WMD read

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