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Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Bovine Comedian

Breakfast made moo-velous with
an egg-white omelet, apple, blackberries, toast,
and of course, Laughing Cow cheese.

Some mornings, I enjoy cheese on my toast at breakfast.  Recently, I’ve enjoyed Stilton and Double Gloucester.  The other day my wife brought home a triangle of Laughing Cow.  After the other two cheeses, I didn’t expect much flavor from this mild, smooth cheese.  But I found that I enjoyed Laughing Cow just as much as I had the other two.  Its flavor might be less rich, but I found it no less pleasant.  An added bonus was how easily it spread across the toast. 

Of course, names are evocative for a writer, and Laughing Cow made me wonder.  In his books, James Herriot tells of cows that winked at people, who butted milk pails, who regarded kicking a farm worker or a vet as a bovine-handshake.  He tells about cows getting angry, ornery, mean, inquisitive, friendly, and loyal.  He asserts that each farm animal, like every person, is an individual, and therefore has his or her unique personality.  But none of his stories ever mention a cow laughing.

So, as I often do these days, I turned to the Internet for answers.  On Wikipedia, I learned that Leon Bel trademarked the brand in 1921.  To advertise his new brand, he drew a cow with a hilarious expression.  Three years later, a famous illustrator named Benjamin Rabier enhanced Bel’s drawing, giving her earrings, coloring her red, and depicting her laughing.  The cheese has since won the world over, and recently the company contacted BBC Radio comedian Milton Jones to answer my question: Could he make a cow laugh?

At the link below, you can see several two-minute-long videos.  I enjoyed watching Milton's outdoor show.  While I’m not convinced that the cows’ responses to his stories, gags, and punch-lines equivocate with my own laughter, they certainly seem interested in him.  Or maybe they’re just trying to get to the hay. 


Dragon Dave

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