I have a story to tell…
I come from the tropic where the weather is warm then hot and back to warm year round (or almost like so), my family were not accustomed to wear shoes and socks.
Then when I first came to the States, Chicago to be exact, it was at the end of March 1981. My not used to wearing socks and shoes habit was abruptly changed to putting on socks and shoes every time I had to wander out of the door.
Since I have no background knowledge of such “accessories”, I worn my socks/shoes to school, work, groceries, movies and everywhere, rain or shine, for more than few weeks at a time before going to the local laundromat. One day, while studying for a school exam, I smelled something terrible kept whiffing around in my room but I could not figured out. Old apartment smell, I thought… It’s more like a few weeks later when I sit down to put on my socks and accidentally paid attention and got a whiff of my own making! It was the most horrific smell that forever etched in my mind. What can beat the fermenting wetted, dam socks combined with the “advanced” athletic toes?
To make the story short… Again, with my limited English skill at the time and my limited knowledge of western foods, I ordered from a workplace’s cafeteria foods. The bargained menu of the day was some sort of pasta with beef liver on top. So I chose it. And the server asked if I would like “something” and “something” put on the dish. Not knowing any better, I slightly nodded my head as saying “yes”. The server behind the counter shake some sort of creamy white powder onto the foods and hand it over…
I ended up being the starving worker/student for the day because I couldn’t eat it. I gagged after the first bite! The whole dish smelled like what I had smelled just couple of days ago, my toes!
Later on, I learned what that creamy white powder that were offered and sprinkled onto my pasta dish. It was the parmesan cheese! Probably the expensive type since it smell so bad.
For a long while, I stayed away from that powdery cheese and labeled it “Toe Cheese”.
But I adapted and evolved. Nowadays, I seek out and enjoy Parmasan Cheese just as my palate has expanded. I even have 2 small blocks in my fridge right this moment!
So I guess I can related to being offended and offending others when I bought up the subject. It’s just take a little understanding and a little of adventure into unfamiliar territories…
And I love it!