By Marshall Stack, CANADA (Thornloe) -In the normally tepid hamlet of Thornloe, Ontario, there is an air brewing in the air. There is a buzz around the lone traffic light and the door of the convenience store is being opened and summarily closed far more often than usual. Why the sturm und drang?
Thornloe is widely known for its cheese factory which, up until recently was in danger of closing, thanks to its parent company BB FunCorp deeming it irrelevant.
Now, with the recent news that the Banque du Canada is preparing to recognize cheese and other select dairy products as hard currency, the factory is unable to keep up with the demand. Many of the one-hundred local residents are making repeat trips to purchase the hard orange rounds of cheddar that soon may be more valuable than the paper they were bought with.
Plant manager Minnie Cheechoo is philosophical; “It’s mental. I don’t get it at all. It’s f***ed is what it is.”
“I think it’s great!” chimed Chantal Therese, a local mother of two and Thornloe’s only french hornist. “I love cheese and I love to spend, so, there you go!”
The practice of using cheese as money seems to have sprung from the Canadian North. In the 1980`s, as northern economically ghettoized locals ran out of cash, they resorted to foodstuffs to barter for what they needed. One of these foodstuffs, was, cheese.
Filtering south now, cheese has edged out all other items in the pantry to emerge as the dominant food-money of a country caught in the crosshairs of a crossroads turning point. Experts at the prestigious Carribean think tank MyGoodies say that at present rates of growth, cheese could be the most widely used legal tender substance in Canada in just three short years.
The residents of Thornloe are well aware of this fact.
“I’ve got brie, gouda, camembert and now lots and lots of cheddar! It stinks and my husband’s allergic! “shrieked music teacher Betty Mason. “Next I’m out for goat cheese!”
In terms of value, it looks like chevre or goat cheese may lead the pack with brie and soft cheeses coming in a close second. Cheddar, havarti, fontina and mozzarella fill out the bottom rung of popular investment cheeses, but those in the know continue to warn that speculation is pointless.
“Until the powers that be assign specific value to these delicious treats,” cautioned veteran cheese-watcher Rabeezio Rabeezio, “perhaps it’s best they only serve atop a cracker or a patty of Angus beef.”
Although Mr Rabeezio’s landmark tome on the fallout of Sweden’s ill-fated flirtation with a cheese-based economy in the 1980’s (“I Am The Cheese, And You Are The Sauce”, Loyola University Press, 1990) has been snatched up by Thornloeites wishing to bone-up on their knowledge of fromage, not everyone is swallowing what it has to say.
“Mr Rabeezio is a foreigner, writing about his native Sweden. For Canadians to apply what he was talking about, now, in a post-9/11 world, is insane,” assured Thornloe Treasurer Norman White. “Cheese is coming,” he said. “We’d all do best to lean back and accept it.”