Experiment #10: Joan's Blue Cheese Mold

In honor of former FBI Director James Comey's marathon testimony before our Reptilian Overlords Congress this week, we thought we'd tune the blog to the key of partisan acrimony.

Enter "Joan's Blue Cheese Mold," a culinary cosmic horror and the most divisive recipe we've featured yet. 

This was a doomed project from the start. Tom loves blue cheese for its footy, fungus-y flair and its ability to effortlessly and irreparably ruin steaks, salads, and hot wings.

Liz tries blue cheese once a year in the vain hope that she'll have acquired the taste. She hasn't, perhaps because she still has functioning, youthful(!) tastebuds that send helpful signals to her brain such as "DON'T PUT FRUITY GARBAGE JUICE IN YOUR MOUTH." 

We've made you this handy, color-coded diagram to help differentiate our respective hot takes from this point on: 

Sneak preview of the nightmare fodder to come.

Tom: The only thing wrong with this recipe is all the parts that are not blue cheese. Unlike Liz, I was raised in an upstanding, moral, American household where we respected all our cheeses, regardless of color or mold content. Blue cheese is an indispensable and beloved part of our national salad dressing heritage. Its assertive, bold complexity lends depth to any palate adventurous enough to accept it on its own delicious terms.

Liz: Blue cheese in general—and Joan's Blue Cheese Mold in particular—looks and tastes like someone stuck a bunch of deep-cleansing pore strips on Ted Cruz and then scraped whatever came out into a bowl.

We should clarify here that we have no idea who "Joan" is (though Liz suspects it's just the female euphemism for Bob, the Black Lodge demon from Twin Peaks.

This recipe(?) comes to us courtesy of Olga Esch, wife of Rep. Marvin Leonel [sic] Esch (R-MI). Rep. Esch was born into a monstrously long life of unending pain and suffering in 1927 and served Michigan's 2nd Congressional District from 1967–77. 

Esch was fairly prolific as short-service Congressmen go. True to his Republican roots, he introduced a slew of bills aimed at loosening up the tax code—plus one to prevent doggos from being used in any kind of biological or chemical weapons research. All of them died in committee. (The bills, not the dogs.)

"Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. But my wife makes jiggly cheese. So save me, maybe."

One of his few bills that did become law was H.R.8674, "An Act to declare a national policy of coordinating the increasing use of the metric system in the United States, and to establish a United States Metric Board to coordinate the voluntary conversion to the metric system." 

Remember how we all gleefully embraced the metric system in the 1980s and never looked back?

Hey, it just goes to show that even full-throated, bipartisan legislation won't pry inches and miles from our Rascal-gripping patriot hands. 'MURRCA. *eagle scrawwwwww*

Although opponents described him as a staunch partisan, Esch was an active member of the Wednesday Group, a small coalition of moderate Republicans who wanted to end both the Vietnam War and the draft. (Years later, a member described the group's aesthetic as ''Republican but not so Republican that it frightens people away.'')

Today, some of Esch's views seem downright progressive. Over the course of his ten-year career, he sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to promote electric cars and solar energy, ban nonrecyclable beverage containers (check that sweet Michigan 10-cent container refund), and appropriate additional funds to NASA and the National Science Foundation.

We can't say for sure, but we're pretty confident Marv would have signed the Paris Agreement. 

We can't say for sure, but we're pretty confident any world that could bring a blue cheese gelatin mold into being is too wicked to save. 

By the time of his death in 2010, Marv and Olga had been married for 60 years. 

By the time of his poisoning in 2010, Marv had been imprisoned as a test subject by a malodorous werewitch for 60 years.

His wife's blue cheese mold—and we're laying this abomination squarely at the feet of Olga, not the elusive "Joan"—is a thoroughly period paroxysm of gelatin, butter, cream, and shame. 

The mold itself stumped us for a bit, though. Olga doesn't specify a size or shape—just a "greased mold." This may shock our readers (hi, Mom and Dad!) but, uh. We don't exactly own a lot of molds.


We couldn't agree on a good name for the fish mold, so we're just calling him "The Harbinger" 

Tom groused about reusing the fish mold for this recipe, but Liz figured if we were going to "cook" a comestible horrorshow, we may as well be consistent in form as well as function. 

Step 1. Surround a forklift of blue cheese with an assemblage of useless sidekicks
Lowkey shoutout to "President Poupon." Remember when our pundits had nothing better to mock than someone ordering Dijon mustard on his burger? 
This should send a chill through even a raccoon's spine: there's half a pound of blue cheese in this recipe. And Olga Esch thinks she's going to balance that with a half-teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

We just have one question here...are you f*cking with us, Olga? Wrongthink on cheese aside, that is a downright spiteful amount of mustard. What power could half a teaspoon of Dijon have against THE ARMIES OF MORDOR  a half-pound of Funk Crumbles? 

Olga is a straight-up nihilist. And not the fun, ferret-y, Aimee-Mann-in-The-Big-Lebowski kind. 

Step 2. Regret not purchasing a hand mixer for the third and fourth times
Hello darkness, my old friend. 
We know, we know. We should have bought a hand mixer. We've learned nothing over the last 10 weeks.  

But since this whole recipe is a form of self-flagellation, it seems oddly fitting to spend the first half-hour whipping both egg whites and cream into solid states.

Whip until your arms scream in agony loud enough to drown out the thought of blue cheese Jell-O. And remember, folks: chill your whipping implements. 

Maybe it's junk food science, but at least your carpal-tunnel-inflamed wrists will be slightly soothed by the cool metal bowl. 

Alternatively: whisk until the egg white flips you off.
I'd be mad, too, if someone tried to fold me into a pile of half-digested finch poop. 

Step 3: Fold your egg whites and whipping cream into a pile of half-digested finch poop.
Can you paint with all the colors of the fin?

Liz had to leave the room while Tom mixed this up. Every turn of the spoon kicked another wave of tangy, socky fright fumes into shared airspace. 

Tom thinks if Liz ever actually goes to France, she's going to wind up wanting the whole place nuked.

Blue Cheese is the worst Glade Plug-In by far. 
If you squint, you can almost convince yourself it's full of gravy and not half-congealed mold soup. 

We're skipping over a few steps here (dissolve some gelatin in white wine; mix cheeses with butter, an egg yolk, and an insulting amount of mustard), but you're not honestly considering making this, are you? 

Step 4. Chill until dark, ancient magic binds the fish into its true form. 
it is I, jumbled shoelace nose

J-O-A-N'-S   B-L-U-E   C-H-E-E-S-E   M-O-L-D    

J-U-M-B-L-E-D   S-H-O-E-L-A-C-E   N-O-S-E


...that was more climactic when J.K. Rowling did it.

Apologies for the lackluster setting—as we decanted the mold, it adhered steadfastly to the cutting board and refused to move intact. Ritz crackers have been added to make it... ritzy.

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. This mold is somehow simultaneously both chalky and slimy. The mold itself oozed with an oily dampness that lingered on the cutting board like dew. It had the texture of curdled spray foam and the taste of a mayonnaise-based salad that was left under a heat lamp. 

Tom recorded Liz's reaction. It wasn't pretty. 

She went back and tried two more crackers LIKE A F*CKING CHAMP and only needed Tom to make choo choo noises on the way to her traumatized mouth once. (Twice)

We cut off the video too early, but she was reaching for some wine in the fridge, which she gargled like mouthwash. 

There's this beach in British Columbia where running-shoe-clad feet—no other body parts, just de-anklepated feet—keep washing up from the Pacific Ocean

Imagine someone plucked those trainers from where they lay, stuck a fork in them, and sold them as street food. 

This mold tastes like that decomposed foot slurry must after a few days fermenting in the Vancouver sun. 

...Yeah, it's not great.

Which brings us to the final step in the recipe. 

Step 6: Decant into an appropriate serving dish

Joan's Blue Cheese Mold

By Mrs. Marvin L. (Olga) Esch
Adapated from the 1982 Congressional Club Cook Book

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 egg, separated
1/2 lb. blue cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon gelatin
1/2 cup white wine
2 cans Hamm's

Whip cream, set aside. Beat egg white until stiff, set aside. In a bowl, beat cheeses, butter, mustard and egg yolk. Mix gelatin in wine and set in pan of hot water until dissolved. Add to cheese. Fold in whipped cream and egg white. Pour into greased mold. Chill. Unmold and serve with crackers in the garbage. Drink Hamm's until the taste is just a haunting, traumatic memory. Makes no servings. May God have mercy on your soul. 


  1. This is fantastic you guys, love the video.

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