That is, except for the grilled cheese. I feel proud to have such genius friends. The night before the wedding, everything was set to go. The bride and groom had brewed all the beer and hard cider, hand-dipped the candles, made the whoopie pies and caramels, and had all of their sides and pickles ready for the next day's feast.
They hand-painted homemade signs on wood and nailed them to posts, and the mother of the groom made the most incredible gravlax. They made homemade pork liver mousse and marshmallows from scratch for roasting after the bonfire. They had transported the pig from Vermont on the top of their car, and it roasted for nearly 24 hours. Family members took turns through the night babysitting the fire.
But for their welcome dinner, the couple took it easy on themselves. They hired Caseus Cheese Truck, the mobile off-spin of the New Haven bistro and fromagerie, Caseus. Guests lined up and ordered their grilled cheeses of their own design and drank to their hearts' content. Bluegrass wafted in and out, all under a small tent with barrels of hay on which to sit. The bride and groom were the picture of calm.
You start with their classic: buttery grilled sourdough bread with provolone, swiss, comte, gruyere, gouda, and sharp cheddar, and build from there. Add-ons like guacamole, arugula, pesto, tomato, bacon, berkshire pork, and roasted peppers were at the ready, as was their custom stinky cheese blend. Too delicious. And they had sweet options, too, of which the Nutella left particular impression.
If you're in New Haven, you can find The Cheese Truck at various locations at twitter.com/caseusgrilled. They use local ingredients whenever possible, serve their sandwiches with grainy mustard and cornichons, and hand over their goods with some serious smiles. I wouldn't be writing about them if I couldn't get behind 'em. They're worth being sought out. And worth a thought for a welcome dinner or an event.
What I learned wasn't that I have a larger appetite than most people for melted cheese between two slices of bread, or that less is sometimes more (illustrated by the effectiveness of just a bit of guacamole on the grilled cheese rather than the compelling prospect of 4 toppings), or that the smell of melting cheese can make even the most festive of occasions all the more celebratory. I learned something about those brutally creative and inspired and endlessly energetic people in the world. I learned something about those among us who never seem to stop. Even they sometimes need a break.
Nora Singley used to be a cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop. Until recently she was a TV Chef on The Martha Stewart Show. She is currently a freelance food stylist and private chef in New York City.
(Images: Nora Singley)