Hoop cheese made the best cheese toast and the best mac ‘n’ cheese. Back when mac ‘n’ cheese was boiled noodles with a little butter and hoop cheese. We bought ours from Bobbie’s Bait Stand, where the grocery section consisted of hoop cheese, pickled eggs, pigs’ feet, a bologna log and light bread. And you had to ask the cook to get it for you … .
It also made the best cheese toast. Smooth and melty, without that burnt skin American slices get or the hard shell cheddar can make.
Recently, I had a strong craving for hoop cheese. I tried a slice of the cheddar in my fridge, but it just wasn’t the same. The hoop cheese of my memory was smoother and more mild than cheddar, a simple cheese taste that didn’t try to do too much. It just was, and it was perfect. A short search, turned up wedges of hoop cheese at Matherne’s. Three of them are sitting in my fridge right now and there’s a loaf of light bread on the counter, waiting to be toast.
As strong as my craving is, a part of me is a little afraid to try it. What if this isn’t the same? After all, this came from the “specialty cheese” section of the store and cost a bit more than I remember ever being given to get hoop cheese. And it has a little paragraph about the Amish on it, and I’m pretty sure there weren’t any Amish in Doyline. Eventually, I’m going to get up and make the toast. But for now, I’m savoring the memory.