The free cheese glory days

7 Apr

This morning a random memory popped into my head concerning cheese and I believe it warrants a short post.

I grew up in Pittsburgh where my mom would take my brother and me grocery shopping at Giant Eagle. My little brother would happily retreat to The Eagle’s Nest, a free in-store daycare where he would play Nintendo while my mom shopped. I never went to The Eagle’s Nest for multiple reasons — mostly because I was extraordinary shy and didn’t like to socialize with kids I didn’t know, but also, because of the cheese. Yes, cheese. Every time we went shopping we would stop at the deli counter and my mom would get me a slice of cheese. I remember exactly how it tasted, even to this day, but I have no idea what type of cheese it was. I don’t even know how this bizarre custom came about — did a deli lady think my double ponytail and wild animal print pants were cute one day and decided to reward me with a free slice of cheese? Was this a common occurrence at Giant Eagle, giving children free slices of cheese? And was the cheese even free? Did they tack on an extra 10 cents to my mom’s chipped ham order to cover my cheese slice? I’m pretty sure we never actually bought the cheese because it was a lot more expensive than the Giant Eagle brand pre-wrapped singles. All I know is that I loved that cheese and for some unknown reason I’m craving it almost 20 years later… specifically I would like it on a bun with some chipped ham, microwaved for 30 seconds. If only Cincinnati (or London….) understood how to shave proper Pittsburgh chipped chopped ham.


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