RYAN’S TABLE BY Ryan Tatsumoto

When I look in the mirror every morning and spot another white hair in my goatee, or notice that the hair atop my head looks a bit thinner, or when I wake up with body aches from unknown causes, I always chalk it up to the unwanted consequences of aging. Or, when my SUV starts making noises that do not sound at all like the purr of a brand new engine, or when the desktop or laptop slows to a crawl and needs to be rebooted several times a day. Even inanimate aging seems inevitable.

There are times, however, when aging isn’t just welcomed, but actually desired . . . like when milk from totally grass-fed vacche rosse, or red cows, from the Reggio-Emilia region in northern Italy, is allowed to curdle naturally and then drained, salted and aged for 30 to 40 months. That process produces not just the famed Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but also the Vacche Rosse Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese of the gods. Buttery, rich and salty with crunchy bits of crystalized amino acids and loads of umami, it is meant to be savored either as is or with a few precious drops of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, or true balsamic vinegar.

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