The Loop: Big cheeses

Cheese Image copyright Thinkstock

Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's weekly letters column, including the best of your thoughts from Twitter and Facebook.

One of the most popular stories on the Magazine this week was Mary Berry's assertion that cheese should come before dessert. The suggestion was avidly debated by seasoned epicureans. No doubt marble boards were sent crashing to the floor in the ensuing melee.

While David Marshall laughed at the "parochial" comment by food writer Tim Hayward that English cheese "is now the best in the world", David Cunningham agreed with Mary that it's best to finish on a sweet dish. Countering the argument was Stephen Ringer who said "the English custom of sweet then cheese allows for the serving of port with the cheese after the dessert wine. Much the better idea."

Denis Buckley was delighted to note that that the French version of the Eurostar menu "has cheese before the pudding, and the English version has the pudding before the cheese!" It was left to Professor Stephen Porter to point out the health benefits of cheese after pudding by adding that "sweet foods increase the acidity of the mouth and the risk of erosion or decay of teeth. Cheeses reverse this acidity and thus may lessen painful dental disease."

Continuing with the prandial, The Loop was rather starstruck on receiving an email from Tom Hingley, former lead singer with Inspiral Carpets. His missive concerned last week's feature on legendarily rude Chinese restaurant Wong Kei. Hingley added another golden nugget to the footnotes of rock 'n' roll history by revealing that when the band had a meal there in 1989 "it was possibly the first Chinese restaurant Noel Gallagher ever ate in". Gallagher was working as a roadie for the Carpets at the time.

Elsewhere in the world, our story on a cat in Portland, Oregon menacing a family certainly set a large feline species among the pigeons.

Lawrence Bailey chuckled at our suggestion that Siamese cats had forgotten their hunting instincts, especially as "the haul of birds and frogs dumped in the kitchen by our cat tells a different story". Cath from Norfolk opined how she tamed a feral cat that attacked her and it became a good companion. "Sadly died by ingesting a rabbit-bone."

The Magazine marked the death of Tony Benn with five lesser-spotted things the veteran politician gave the world. It gave Gerald Tammer of Leeds cause to reminisce. "As a young Executive Officer in charge of telephone equipment purchasing, based at Post Office Contracts Department in London, Tony Benn as postmaster general gave me instructions to acquire Trimline phones from the US company AT&T," he recalls. "He also got me to order red mobile phone coinboxes. After ensuring that no patents were infringed these new products were both launched to great acclaim."

Our story on whether the word bossy was damaging to women was seen as a positive in the eyes of Neil Hewitt. "On the contrary, I look upon it as almost a term of endearment. Girls accused of 'bossiness' is indicative of a future born leader." But perhaps the last word should go to Durham resident Jason Harding who was so moved about our story on a painting that shocked the suffragettes (Velazquez's Rokeby Venus) that he wrote to say: "Rokeby (the setting for Walter Scott's ballad and formerly the home of the Rokeby Venus) is in County Durham - and so, there is no 'Yorkshire twist'."

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