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I shipped SJ's cheese to my extended family, fully six different addresses this past Christmas. That's a measure of the regard I have for Roger and Sally.
First time I ever spoke to her was by telephone in the early '90s. I was feeling very full of myself, as usual, and I told her in high dudgeon that I was insulted that she existed without having first informed me, and how on earth could she be selling that cheese I had just seen in Balducci's and not to me at Dean & DeLuca. She took it, and we commenced a long business and personal relationship, and I cultivated one, too, with Roger.
I often gave Sally a long and hard time about being so morose, so laconic all the time, and I actually succeeded a few times at jollying her out of her usual funk. She even came all the way to Seattle when I was there on book tour, and I met one or both of their boys, too, which made me feel even more devoted to the family. I wrote about her cheese in magazines and in my Cheese Primer. I talked at length about her and Roger and her cheese on NPR many times, I offered her cheese at innumerable lecture/tastings over the years, I sold her cheese over my counters with my own hacked up and calloused hands, and I made lots of folks irretrievable devotees of the Okanogan Wonderment for 20 years.
Sally and Roger cannot better be described than that they are American Treasures.
Steve Jenkins is the author of Cheese Primer. First published in 1996, it was one of the first good cheese books that helped introduce the concept of fine cheese to the American public.
Tomorrow: Author Laura Werlin on Sally Jackson