I think I speak for many Bay Staters when I say Marathon Monday is one of the best days in Boston and the surrounding suburbs. Every year I tear up as people from all stripes jog past me on their long trek to Boylston. Marathon Monday restores my faith in humanity because we want to be there for each other. We cheer for each other so loudly our throats get hoarse. We motivate and energize each other to the finish line, whether we’re in the race or on the sidelines. I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it!
As someone who is not a runner, I am in awe of anyone who completes this long of a race. What do you think about for so long? How do you keep going even when your whole body tells you to stop?? I will clearly always be a spectator. Someone’s gotta be in the cheering section, right?
This year, one of my besties, Mike, will be running, so our group of friends will be blasting around the course to see him as often as we can. Yes, blasting around means shuffling through crowds, but I’m thinking some sort of motorized scooter with a cooler holding our drinks should be involved. I mean, come one, we’re going to be out there for at least 3 hours, we need sustenance! Since cheese is always our snackage of choice, I’m choosing cheeses that are good on the go, hold up well to subpar transportation, and are happy without any cooling. The weather looks like it will be as crummy as last year, so cheese will provide cozy warmth in our tummies while we hop from spot to spot catching as many glimpses of Mike as we can.
My first choice is in honor of this being a marathon in Mass. Eidolon comes from Grey Barn in Martha’s Vineyard, which is just over 100 miles away from Salem, similar to the first marathon (I’m talking about Pheidippides’s marathon, the one where he ran around 150 miles in two days). See? Connections! It is a soft cow’s milk cheese, but in the slightly younger, firmer state where it is now, it will be easy to cut into triangles before we leave and then eat at our first stop. The tangy, grassiness will be a good, bright start to our marathon day.
The next cheese we’ll eat will be something alpine. We’ll probably be cold and wet by the midpoint in the race, so a hearty, rich alpine will keep us going. The sharp, almost spicy Hornbacher broken into pieces has the pizazz to be energizing. Perhaps we’ll bring a small container of mustard and a few cornichons to eat with Hornbacher, making a zippy bite.
Finally, the end. What could possibly be our finish line cheese? What has enough weight to match our emotions from seeing Mike cross that line in triumph? I think I must choose one of the kings of cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano. I want Giorgio Cravero’s Parmigiano, drizzled with aged, velvety balsamic vinegar (my favorite is the Campagnia del Montale) for an extra special touch. The finish line, after all, deserves extra special. It’ll probably look like a mess since I will combine shards of Parm with the vinegar before we leave in the morning, but no one will care because it’ll taste so freakin’ good. The combination of nutty, umami flavors of the cheese and grapey sweetness from the balsamic will be just right for celebrating the end for celebrating the end of the race. Celebrating Mike, great cheese, and a day well spent with happy friends and happy strangers.
For the love of cheese and the Boston Marathon 2019,