Piknik cheese is softer than feta, more creamy but capable of crumbling. It pairs well with herbs, and sometimes my family would sprinkle it on top of pasta. When we’d open the can of cheese we’d wash off the brine and plate it alongside a butter knife. Over the course of the week, the disk of piknik cheese would shrink, and soon another would replace it.
I will always associate piknik cheese with adventure because of my family’s leisurely grocery store excursions. We would purposefully find the time to visit smaller grocery stores to buy our staple foreign foods, including our piknik cheese. This cheese is important to our lifestyle because we eat it with every meal. Our table always had to serve cheese, herbs, and lavash, no matter the time of day.
We’d find other treasures along the way; flavors yet to be discovered, or products we hadn’t seen imported in years.
- Piknik cheese. If you cannot find piknik cheese, feta kept in brine is a fair alternative because of their similarity in texture.
- Fresh basil, cilantro, and/or green onion. You may omit any of the herbs and vegetables as you wish.
- Optional: to add protein to this recipe, cook an egg however you wish and add it to the wrap. I prefer my eggs over-hard with a sprinkle of black pepper.
This recipe is simple and doesn’t need to look pretty.
- Take your cheese out of your brine and give it a good rinse. Dry it with a paper towel then place it on a small plate.
- Wash your chosen herbs/vegetables.
- Take a sheet of lavash and cut it to your desired size.
- Place a thin slice of cheese on your lavash, then add your chosen herbs and veggies.
- Wrap it and enjoy!
Eating piknik cheese and lavash with a sprig of cilantro and green onion takes me back to my family’s breakfasts.
The recipe is simple, but when you pair it with a cup of Earl Grey, you’re in for a real treat. It creates a new flavor that I can only describe as a mixture of salty, sweet, and comforting.
However, as a student, this is a period of time where comforting flavors have gone missing.
The pandemic has made locating this cheese difficult. My family would visit stores a few cities away in hopes of striking gold, only to be met with cheeseless shelves and dwindling hopes for the next store.
Now, in Santa Cruz, I don’t have my parents around to ask me if I want to go to these grocery stores with them. As a student, I don’t have the time or resources anymore to do this kind of shopping on my own. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be the same without my family looking for their childhood goodies while I browse the aisles with them.
Luckily, I’ve been blessed.
I knew I would miss this cheese, so before the shortage I took a smaller can with me to college. So long as it is kept in its brine, it can stay fresh for a while. With that said, knowing stores don’t have them in stock at the moment, it feels wrong to eat the last of it by myself.
I’m going to wait. Whatever special occasion it will be — graduation, a stressful finals week, a Wednesday — I will save this cheese for the right time, and think of my family when I eat it.