I believe it was the English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (usually referred to as G. K. Chesterton), who famously stated: “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
In his book, Alarms and Discursions, which hit the high street circa 1910/11, G. K. presented a collection of essays that were originally published in the Daily News. In the essay entitled Cheese, he noted: “My forthcoming work in five volumes, The Neglect of Cheese in European Literature, is a work of such unprecedented and laborious detail that it is doubtful whether I shall live to finish it.”
Sadly, G. K. was right, he never did finish it. In fact, if the truth be told, I doubt he even started it, so it may be left to me to pick up this burden, but that’s a topic we can leave for a future time.
Do you recall my earlier Cool Beans blog Meet Zeke! in which I introduced you to a young man called Zeke who obtained his ham radio license when he was only 8 years old? If so, you may also remember that Zeke is currently embarked on a project to create a radio system to allow him to communicate with the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
One portion of this system is a 10-foot-long helical antenna, which is now ready to rock and roll. Zeke has educated me about all sorts of things regarding helical antennas, including myriad nuggets of knowledge and tidbits of trivia of which I was previously unaware. For example, these little scamps are directional with maximum radiation occurring along the helix axis, they radiate circularly polarized radio waves (which makes them useful for communicating with satellites), and they emit radiation from both ends (but you can put a reflector on one end to boost the output on the other; Zeke has implemented his reflector using chicken wire).
Zeke’s parents have provided me with so many cool photographs associated with this project that I’m going to write a larger column about his helical antenna and publish it on EEJornal.com. I’ll add a link at the end of this blog pointing to that column when it posts.
But we digress… my meandering musings here were prompted by an email I recently received from young Zeke telling me that he’d posted a new video on his YouTube Channel in which he investigates The Dielectric Constant of Cheese.
Much like a Pavlovian dog, there are certain words that trigger a drooling response from your humble narrator, one being “bacon,” another being “cheese.” Eek! Now I’m thinking of the classic Monty Python Cheese Shop Sketch starring John Cleese and Michael Palin.
Ooh! Now I’m thinking of a sandwich that once tantalized my tastebuds in a little café in Sheffield, England. Presented in a freshly baked roll, this bodacious beauty featured Stilton Blue cheese (this captivating consumable takes its name from the village of Stilton, Cambridgeshire, England), locally sourced bacon, and slices of Granny Smith apples, which (as you are doubtless aware) originated in Australia in 1868 and are named after Maria Ann Smith, who earned the nickname “Granny” Smith in her later years.
Hmm, I find that I’ve become strangely peckish. I must away to recreate that sandwich extravaganza. As always, I welcome your captivating comments, insightful questions, and shrewd suggestions regarding anything in this blog that’s tweaked your interest, be it Zeke, the ISS, or cheese.
Postscript: I just posted my column O-M-Gosh, I’ve Been Zeked! (Part 2) on EEJournal.com
As Zeke knows, the dialectric properties of cheese are important.
There’s an article in the Journal of Food Engineering 75 (2006) pg 415-422 discussing how the dielectric properties of cheese can be used for quality control (by measuring moisture and salt).
The authors of that paper even looked at how those properties varied with cheese type, temperature, and frequency.
Hi Andy — thanks for sharing this nugget of knowledge — I’ve shared this paper with Zeke — but now that you’ve said the magic word I find myself wanting a chunk of cheese 🙂
‘“The dielectric constant of cheese” would be a great name for a rock band, don’t you think?
I’d certainly buy their records 🙂