Like Goat Cheese? Lucky You! – Cidney Swanson

Like Goat Cheese? Lucky You!

This is a great time to be a fan of goat cheese. It’s showing up on menus everywhere and my fave specialty market (Trader Joes’s) features something like 20 varieties. But not everyone likes goat cheese. Le sigh. Like me, for instance. However, my strong aversion to all-cheeses-goat came in handy recently when I got a less than admiring review of one of my books. Let me back-track a little.

First, I’m just going to admit that I read every last Amazon review of my books. Now, I know that as writers, we’re not supposed to obsess about what people think about our work. I know that we are supposed to write the best book we can and create without reference to the whims and tastes of others, that we should have broad shoulders and big girl panties and all of that.

Whatever. I read reviews anyhow.

Sometimes the things readers write about my book aren’t happy-making for me. But if our books are like our babies, it is probably best to think of publishing them as an act of giving up our “baby” in some form of closed adoption. We don’t get to keep our baby and give it away at the same time, you know?

A fortunate parent might just be able to sneak glimpses, though, and I suppose that is (in part) why I read my reviews. It’s a way of observing my “child” out on the playground: “Oh, look! She made a friend!” (Of course, more happens on the playground than just making friends . . .)

And this is where I find it helpful to remember Goat Cheese. My sister is one of the biggest fans of goat cheese you could ever hope to meet. She likes it all. Fetas, chevres, cheddars, you name it. She would like to have dairy goats so that she could make her own goat cheese.

And then there’s me.

She orders this gorgeous looking salad sprinkled with cheese, and I think to myself, “How yummy does that look?” and I try a bite. Ew! Yuck! Cup of water, like, yesterday!! You see, I do not like goat cheese. I don’t like feta on my salads. Don’t care for chevre on my bagel. Maybe, just maybe, if you cover up the odor taste of a very fresh, very mild chevre with some cumin and lots of garlic, I can just about handle it. With a nice, full-bodied red to wash the taste away. Because here’s the thing: not everyone likes Goat Cheese.

So what does this have to do with me reading reviews? Well, one time I got a rather sad-making review of my book. The reader didn’t enjoy it, didn’t get it. And told everyone on the interwebs. I threw a pity party but made the mistake of inviting my sister. She wasn’t having any of it. “Hey,” she said, “It’s just like you and goat cheese.” I stared at my sister, who is very intelligent and not particularly given to spouting random non-sequitors. She rolled her eyes and explained for me. “Not everyone likes goat cheese. And not everyone who reads your novel will like it. So get over it already.”

Now, when I read my reviews, I simply remind myself that not everyone likes goat cheese and that sometimes it is good to have a reminder for not-goat-cheese eaters that “this product is known by the state of California to contain goat cheese.” Or, um, “this book contains the following things I didn’t like, in case you don’t like them either.” There is a place for that in reviews.

And before I sign off: for those of you who have popped over to Amazon to tell others how much you loved Rippler or Chameleon or Unfurl, thank you so very, very much. Your words make me cry at times as I look out over the “playground” and see my children making friends.

Okay. Quick completely unscientific survey: How many stars would you, personally, give to Goat Cheese on a scale of 1-5? Do you have a fave variety? Post in comments for a chance to win a gifted e-copy of one of my books (your choice of title) between now and midnight of Saint Patty’s. You might just get lucky, even if you don’t like goat cheese!

23 Replies to “Like Goat Cheese? Lucky You!”

  1. Can I just say how awesome it is to see that one of my favourite authors has this sensible attitude towards reviews? Too many authors are being nasty to reviewers lately so it's nice to see someone who can look at it with a bit of perspective! It would be boring if we all liked the same things. 🙂

    As for goat cheese? I won't even taste it. I'm not very adventurous with food. So I'll be mean and give it 1 star for looking gross.
    (But I don't need to be entered for the giveaway. I recently bought Unfurl though I can't bring myself to read it as I don't want the series to be over, haha.)

  2. Great analogy! I'll have to keep this in mind the next time I get a less-than-stellar review. I, too, hate goat cheese. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give it a -99. Your books, however, are quite the opposite of goat cheese for me. I loved Rippler and can't wait to pick up Chameleon and Unfurl!

  3. Well, a 4 probably. I like goat cheese (most of it anyway) and I like your first two books. (if I win, Unfurl please :)) My dairy allergy may have something to do with it – absolutely avoid sour cream and cream cheese, tho Fage Greek yogurt satisfyies me like cream cheese. But back to the subject at hand. Writing a book is like giving a gift – it does belong to the recipient you give it to and you do want the recipient to like it….so you do the best you can do.

  4. I've always enjoyed goat cheese! Some strong-flavored types of cow cheese are not to my liking, though.

    People definitely like different things, and someone not liking a book doesn't necessarily mean the author messed up. Some people like their chapters to end with their characters climbing into bed, all snug and safe and sound. Other people prefer cliff-hanger chapter endings and a plot where the tension never lets up for more than a minute.

    I'm from a generation that didn't grow up being on Facebook since adolescence, so the whole internets-thing can be confounding at time. It helps to turn the computer off and sit under some trees. Celebrate the good milestones too, of course. 🙂

  5. Mmmm, Dalyamoon, sitting under a tree sounds delightful! I'll have to wait another month or so for the ground to be less . . . er . . . soggy! But I sense some under-tree-sitting come April! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. As someone who is lactose intolerant, I can't eat cow's milk or cow's cheese. I can, however, eat goat's cheese and I LOVE it. I used to hate feta but now I adore it. I particularly like a hard goat's cheese that can be grated and used instead of regular cheddar. Living in Portugal, we do have a wide variety of goat's cheeses, thankfully!
    On another note, I'm halfway through Rippler and I totally LOVE it!!!! It's beautifully written and the story just oozes awesomeness. I'm taking my time over it though so I can devour every word…. just like that goat's cheese that looks at me every time I open the fridge. Yum Yum

  7. Suzy-ZOMG! Thanks so much for the praise. I'm a fan of the "oozing awesomeness" phrase! I'm lactose intolerant myself, which is another reason I WISH I liked goat cheese/milk. But after 30 years of belly aches each time I order an omelet or mashed potatoes (prepared with milk, silly me!), I've found I tolerate raw (old fashioned unpasteurized) milk just fine. (High heat of p'zation kills the enzymes that consume the lactose so your tummy doesn't have to.) Okay, so entirely too much gastrointestinal info there. ;P And seriously, your words about Rippler thrill me deeply, even the part where you compare it to the goat cheese! 😀

  8. LOL… I didn't really mean to compare it to goats cheese!! I'd choose your book any day!
    WOW… thanks for the info about raw milk, that's seriously fascinating (and I do mean that!). I must delve deeper.

  9. I've written two book reviews this year. In one, I compare the author's writing to dark chocolate. (Srsly, YUM writing). In the other I compare the story to cinnamon. So, yeah, I'm good with a goat cheese lover comparing Rippler to goat cheese!

    Raw milk is extremely controversial in US. USDA would lurve to outlaw completely. I just shrug and say, "know your farmer." Plus, usda=people who brought us gmo's? Really, guys? Whatev's. Envy you your access to Portuguese foods… visited Madeira this Sept. YUM!

  10. I'm not a fan of goat cheese, at all. My husband however, loves it. On our honeymoon 10 years ago we ate at a French restaurant. He ordered a cheese platter for dessert. (He did live in France for 2 years and appreciates that kind of stuff. Me, not so much) Being the newlyweds that we were, he offered a taste of his smoked goat cheese and I lovingly accepted… Never again… I'm a quick learner. In that respect, I have learned that I am going to read your other books. I just finished Rippler, loved it!

  11. Coordination Queen, so glad to hear it! (The part about you loving Rippler.) It is a bummer when our DH's like weird foods, huh? But I love the story that you have to tell about it! Thanks for coming by. 😉

  12. Hey cool! We were going to go to Madeira this year but the ferry service just stopped (typical!) and we don't fancy flying. The boat trip was going to be part of the holiday! We went to the Azores years ago though and that was seriously awesome.
    I have heard of raw milk being somewhat controversial… I'm still going to look into it though 🙂

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