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    June 12th, 2011OliverInterviews

    A writer from her early childhood, Alex Flinn has become famous for such works as Beastly, A Kiss in Time and Breaking Point, to name but a few. In 2011 Beastly will be released as a film starring Alex Pettyfer, Justin Bradley and Mary-Kate Olsen. We caught up with Alex to chat to her about her life and of course, cheese.

    Just how important was cheese to your childhood?

    Cheese was extremely important! My father was a ship chandler (basically, they supply ships with all the food and supplies they need to go out to sea), and so his company sold large wheels or jars of cheese. He would often bring cheese home, wheels of bleu cheese a foot across or gallon jars of feta. It was a great day when the cheese came home. What was interesting was that the taste of the cheese was always different, even if it was from the same place. So, sometimes, the bleu cheese was sharper than others, for example, and we had discussions about whether or not it was good. I ate a bagel or toast with bleu cheese or feta almost every day for breakfast.

    Here is an interesting story: My husband and I married a few months before Hurricane Andrew hit Miami. A few days before the hurricane, my father gave us a huge can of feta, a block about 8″ square. After the hurricane, the refrigerator went out, and the cheese was destroyed (Since feta is a soft cheese, it didn't have a chance). In the years that followed, we both have repeatedly mentioned what a shame it was about that cheese!

    How has that followed into your adult life?

    Oh, I love cheese, and if I'm in a restaurant, I will almost always order the Greek salad. There is a local chain called Offerdahl's that makes a salad with feta and Craisins, which is really good too. If you don't have an Offerdahl's near you, you could make it at home, with romaine and a nice vinaigrette dressing.

    Who is your favorite celebrity and why?

    My favorite celebrity would have to be Renee Zellweger. After many years of acting many people have said renee zellweger plastic surgery before and after has been the biggest event in her career. I beg to differ, she is a great actress and I don’t care if she’s had surgery!

    Is there a specific type of cheese that you used to eat a lot, but no longer do? If so, why is this?

    I'd have to say kaseri. It's a Greek cheese and not readily available in the supermarket. Since my father's death, I really pretty much only eat it at church Greek festivals . . . where it is served flaming, called saganaki (You should try it if you haven't).

    What is your favourite cheese nowadays and what's your favourite way to eat it?

    Feta, in the aforementioned Greek salad, though I do make a lot of recipes with cheddar and mozzarella too.

    How many mentions of cheese are there in your upcoming novel, A Kiss in Time?

    I didn't think there were any, but I just checked and there are six, which just shows how subliminal cheese is in my mind. The first is on page 7 (of my manuscript — don't know where it will fall in the finished book), where the princess describes the various luxuries being prepared for her sixteenth birthday, and she mentions "cheese from Switzerland.” Yes, I could have chosen chocolate, but I chose cheese. In another portion of the book, the hero has some great struggles, but he is provided with bread and cheese for sustenance.

    A Kiss in Time comes out April 28, if you want to print this around then. I'd be happy to answer any other questions regarding cheese.

    How much cheese do you eat in an average week?

    Quite a bit. Cream cheese on a bagel in the morning, then usually some kind of sandwich with a slice of cheese for lunch. I don't usually have cheese for dinner, unless it's grated romano cheese on pasta.

    What's your favourite type of cheese flavoured crisps (or chips, I guess)?

    Doritos are probably my favorite, but I end up eating quite a lot of Cheez-Its because my kids eat them.

    How would you best sum up cheese using four words?

    The loveliest comfort food