The importance of charcuterie boards

In this world there are meat lovers, cheese lovers, fruit lovers, vegetable lovers and snack lovers. It seems unlikely a meal could satisfy all of these listed categories, but fear not. The world gave us its greatest gift to quench all taste buds: the charcuterie board. 

A charcuterie board is a plate filled with an assembly of cured meats, cheese, crackers, nuts, sauces and anything else your heart desires. It’s typically listed as an appetizer, and pairs well with a glass (or five) of wine. 

The charcuterie board is not only a delectable tray, it is an experience: picking out each ingredient to blend together, cutting and slicing into intricate pieces, arranging the ensemble in a creative way, and stomaching the entire slab after a hard day’s work. 

Whether it is for birthday parties, weddings, holidays or even funerals, charcuterie boards bring people together. They’re classy, sophisticated and scream, “I chose to put effort into my dish because I have a heart of gold.” If you are the charcuterie-board supplier, you are guaranteed to snag the title of favorite guest (Besides funeral circumstances, then you are the second favorite). 

A charcuterie board is also something you could make 100 different times with 100 different combinations, and it never gets old. After all, charcuterie has been around for hundreds of years, and I expect it to stick around for thousands more. As long as the Earth wants to be a happy place to live, it is essential for charcuterie boards to also be present for consumption. 

One of my fondest memories was the day I made my first charcuterie board. I put together a Christmas-themed plate for my roommates with various cheeses (gouda is mandatory), salami, ham, prosciutto, chocolate-covered almonds, jams, crackers, toast, dates, grapes, olives and strawberries. I also bought wine (also mandatory), set it on the table and patiently waited for them to arrive. Once they trickled home from their day jobs, my beautiful charcuterie board greeted them hello. They were so proud of me for my charcuterie placement skills, and we cleaned the entire plate. 

Moral of the story: go to the store tonight, pluck out your ingredients and make a charcuterie board. If you don’t feel like making one, go to the nearest winery and order one. Not only do they taste and look delicious, but you will look just as scrumptious devouring one because a charcuterie board-consumer is a person of elegance, grace and dignity. 

There are two parts of life: life before the charcuterie board and life after. I’ve lived through both. And truth be told, life after is the only life worth living. If there is only one fan of charcuterie boards left on this planet, she is me, and if there are no fans of charcuterie boards in sight, I cease to exist.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: A charcuterie board is comprised of meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, crackers and more. Pictured is the tray I crafted for Christmas. (Courtesy Mercedes Kauphusman)

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