Sunday, October 19, 2008

Guava paste and Cougar Gold

Several times a year we receive a package from [The Man I Love]'s family in Tampa, with an assortment of Cuban food. They send bags of strong Cuban coffee, black beans, packages of plantain chips, olives, olive oil, packages of yellow rice.

We love Cuban food, and we are grateful for it. But some of the items are...a little hard to fit into our regular menu.

For instance, guava paste.

Our cupboard is full of guava paste. It comes in long rectangular slabs. It comes in dense bricks. And it comes in circular discs, about 9" round, in cans.

There are three years' worth of guava paste in my cupboard. What on earth does a family do with guava paste?

We have other friends who live in Seattle - Wazzu Alumni - and they customarily send us this for a Christmas gift:


Cougar Gold is made at Washington State University Creamery in Pullman, Washington State, by students in the agriculture program. It began in 1940, when the US government and the American Can Company funded a research program to determine whether it was possible to store cheese in cans.

Although this is "Cheese-in-a-Can", this is no processed glue - it's a delicious, natural, sharp crumbly cheddar. Cougar Gold has won medals at international cheese competitions.

I got to thinking about our twin gifts. The pairing of fruit with cheese is a classic combination. There are similar models - Spain's manchego cheese paired with quince paste. Greek goat cheese paired with fig jam. Sweet/sour British brown pickle with farmhouse cheddar. Even classic American cream cheese and jelly sandwiches.

Could Cougar Gold and guava paste work together? At a gathering several months ago, I ran the can-opener round the perimeter of the Cougar Gold can and slipped the wheel of cheese out on onto a platter. Then I ran a heated butter knife around the inside of the can of guava paste, and slipped it on top of the wheel of cheese. They looked amazing together.

It was fantastic. The guava paste is sweet, but kind of bland, so the cheddar-y bite of the Cougar Gold adds a kick! Each enhances the other - the result is all the much better for it.

Despite their seeming so far apart, the Upper Left Hand Corner and the Lower Right Hand Corner of America were perfectly joined together in harmony.

And it's something to keep in mind. Joining all the diverse aspects of America together for a common purpose is better - and much more delicious - than dividing and separating us. Let's try to remember that in the weeks to come.

8 comments:

KathyR said...

That does sound good. I gained 4 pounds looking at the last photo.

GABRIELA DELWORTH said...

Hello,

Mmmmm...I think I should place an order for a delivery right to Toronto of all these goodies...
Some familiar...

~ Gabriela ~

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I like guava paste and cream cheese. Same-ish, huh?

cactus petunia said...

Oh boy. Now I've gotta find a source for guava paste, quick! My taste buds are tingling already...

g said...

Go to any latino grocery. You can also google online - try "conchita" - that is a common brand. I love the stuff packaged in the round tins - it's so pretty.

Queenly Things said...

White cheese and ate (a-tay) is one of my favorite desserts. Try a slice of each on a Maria wafer - heaven!! Also I make a cream cheese dough and slip a bit of guava paste into a bit of it to make sweet empanadas. In Mexico you can buy ate made from all sorts of fruit, the most popular is usually quince paste but I've seen it made with berries, apples and other tropical fruits. It makes a nice top layer to cheesecake, too.

Anonymous said...

Ooh ooh! Try this:

guava-glazed pork tenderloin with cilantro-jalapeno salsa!

-D. in Tampa

***§p!Ðë®Wømæñ*** said...

Here in Brazil we call the combination of cheese and guava paste "Romeo and Juliet"...