If you ever find yourself wondering how the British public got tricked into Brexiting by a bus, or how they voted Leon Jackson as winner of The X Factor, just look at any food-based poll.
Mushroom as the best pizza topping? Cottage pie (which isn’t even a pie) as the best pie? We deserve everything we get.
But surely we can’t fuck things up when it comes to cheese, right? Cheese, like observational comedy and despair, is one of the things the British public can cling to. There’s no way a poll of the best cheeses can reveal us to be idiots incapable of performing even the most basic task without metaphorically shitting our pants in public.
According to a poll from Branston – you know, the pickle people – we’ve put cheddar at number one. And it’s not just out in front, it’s way out in front with nearly 68% of those polled including it in their choice of the best cheeses: more than double the score of the next best.
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood, a man who looks like he is incapable of going more than four hours without laughing at a joke he misheard just to fit in, once said he only eats mild cheddar and refuses to get involved with “the rest of that muck”. No one wants to be a nation of Tim Sherwoods, and yet here we are.
Still, at least the rest of the list is probably fine. It’s just a blip, right?
We regret to inform you that it is not just a blip.
Based on the remainder of the top 10, published by the Daily Express, it seems the British public have only actually heard of nine cheeses.
“But it’s a top 10 list,” we hear you shout, already regretting the fact that you’ve read this far into the article.
Well yes, technically, but that top 10 includes cream cheese. And it’s not even a late entry, creeping into the top 10. Cream cheese – which you can’t even eat with your hands like an apple – is the seventh most popular cheese on this hellhole of an island.
If you go to a restaurant and ask for a cheese board, and they bring you cream cheese, you’re going to chuck it on the floor for effect and storm out. It’s the well-done steak of cheeses. The Ford Focus of dairy. A lactose Adam Sandler.
It’s the one you name as a get-out when you can’t think of any real ones. No wonder we live in a country where Ed Sheeran had 16 songs in the top 20.
We’re trying to salvage something here. We really are.
There was always likely to be a pro-English bias in the results, and Red Leicester, Stilton and Wensleydale are all… well… just fine.
Mozzarella holds down a top five slot, as do Brie and Parmesan, though we’d wager that the reference point is more takeaway pizza than high-end Burrata.
But wait, something’s missing. Where’s Comté? Where’s Manchego? Where’s Gruyère? Where’s Halloumi? Halloumi!?
Far from being ‘Cheestrings for Tories’, as one writer once suggested, the salty, chewy food of the gods doesn’t even crack the top 10.
Fuck this, I’m emigrating.
If you’re not already ripping your eyeballs out in anger, here’s the top 10 in full:
1. Cheddar (67.7%)
2. Red Leicester (32.9%)
3. Brie (30.8%)
4. Mozzarella (29.7%)
5. Parmesan (26.2%)
6. Stilton (24.8%)
7. Cream Cheese (21%)
8. Wensleydale (21%)
9. Camembert (17.6%)
10. Feta (17.2%)