Why we do not sing for our supper…or how to properly enjoy Greek cheeses

by Alifair Skebe

From Aesop’s Fables

At least two questions arise in this story:

1) the cheese: exactly what did he steal?

2) the moral: why did he let the prize go?

The first of the two questions is easily answered by “any cheese available” to the Grecian bird: feta, kasseri, manouri, kefalogravieria, tiri, anthotiros, graveia, formeilla parnassos, and mizithra to name a few. Or saganaki, but not fried, so as to burn his beak! Traditional to the region are sheep and goat’s milk cheeses aged in brine, salt, or oil.

The second of the two questions is perhaps harder to answer, but as we have seen at the farmer’s market, perhaps not so. Cheese has an unmistakeable aroma, indulgent to the senses and pervasive for yards or metres. Humans, like the fox, are drawn to its smell, and individuals arrive by their noses to exclaim, “I love cheese!” The crow is like the cheesemonger, willing to part with the prize for an opportunity to sing his song.

A lovely cheesemonger interpretation of the fable:


A PBS storybook version in color in pdf file:


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