A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 16, 2016
“To brie or not to brie” (cheese pun)

"To be or not to be” is the famous opening phrase of Prince Hamlet’s soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. “To brie or not to brie” is a jocular cheese version that has been printed on GIFs and that has been cited in print since at least the 1970s.

The “To brie or not to brie” question often involves whether to eat brie’s whitish moldy rind. The rind is edible.


Wikipedia: Brie
Brie (/briː/; French: [bʁi]) is a soft cow’s-milk cheese named after Brie, the French region from which it originated (roughly corresponding to the modern département of Seine-et-Marne). It is pale in color with a slight grayish tinge under a rind of white mold. The whitish moldy rind is typically eaten, with its flavor depending largely upon the ingredients used and its manufacturing environment.

Wikipedia: To be, or not to be
“To be, or not to be” is the opening phrase of a soliloquy spoken by Prince Hamlet in the so-called “nunnery scene” of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Act III, Scene I.

Although called a soliloquy, Hamlet is far from alone since Ophelia is pretending to read while she waits for Hamlet to notice her, and Claudius and Polonius, who have set Ophelia there in order to overhear their conversation and find out if Hamlet is really mad or only pretending, are hiding behind an arras. Even so, Hamlet seems to consider himself alone. In the speech, Hamlet contemplates death and suicide, bemoaning the pain and unfairness of life but acknowledging that the alternative might be worse. The meaning of the speech is heavily debated but seems concerned with Hamlet’s hesitation to directly and immediately avenge his father’s murder (discovered in Act I) on his uncle, stepfather, and new king Claudius.

Text
This version preserves most of the First Folio text with updated spelling and five common emendations introduced from the Second ("Good") Quarto (italicized).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.


Google Books
Westways
Volume 71
1979
Pg. 3:
This Work force is responsible for such happy moments as “Spinach Enjoys a New Leaf on Life”: “To Brie or Not to Brie”: “State of the Onion Address: Still Going Strong”; “Bread Costs Rise-Middlemen Get Dough”: and. on an overcast June: “A Month of No Sun Days.”

13 July 1983, Washington (DC) Times, Magazine, pg. 15D, col. 1:
To Brie Or Not To Brie: That Is America’s Question
American brie? No such animal, you may snort.

9 November 1983, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), FOODday, pg. 24 ,col. 1:
To Brie or not to Brie poses crusty question
By CATHERINE CHAPIN
Knight-Ridder News Service
(...)
Brie is that soft cheese with the white crust. Almost everyone who’s never eaten brie before wonder whether they ought to eat the white crust.

Twitter
Mcr Confidential
‏@mcrconfidential
Rant: Cheese Hamlet: to brie or not to brie? http://tinyurl.com/dxottn
4:36 AM - 26 Mar 2009

Twitter
John Collins
‏@HolyDalek
What is the cheesiest line in all of Shakespeare’s work?.....
“To brie or not to brie?”
1:53 AM - 2 Feb 2012

OCLC WorldCat record
To brie or not to brie
Author: Avery Aames
Publisher: New York : Berkley Prime Crime, 2013.
Edition/Format: Print book : Fiction : English : Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edView all editions and formats
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
“Charlotte Bessette - owner of Fromagerie Bessette, known by locals as The Cheese Shop - has a lot on her plate: setting a date with her fiance, feeding the actors in her grandmother’s production of Hamlet, and planning the menu for her best friend and cousin’s upcoming wedding. At least her new creation - sinfully delicious Brie blueberry ice cream - has turned out perfectly. Just days before the wedding, a stranger turns up dead in the Igloo Ice Cream Parlor’s freezer, his head bashed with a container of Charlotte’s signature ice cream. But this stranger turns out to be more than he seems, and his death threatens to unravel all that Charlotte has worked for. She has no choice but to add one more thing to her to-do list: find the killer before the villain destroys all that she loves"--Page 2 of cover. 

Twitter
Traveling Cynthia
‏@CynthiaDial
French version of a Shakespeare play:
“To brie, or not to brie.”
12:54 PM - 27 Mar 2013

Twitter
Food & Wine
‏@foodandwine
To Brie or not to Brie? That is the question. Melty, cheesy Brie raclette for Shakespeare’s 450th birthday: http://fandw.me/1hojxiJ
8:00 AM - 23 Apr 2014

Twitter
Scott Gillies
‏@IngersollMuse1
Scott Gillies Retweeted Cheese Grotto
Not sure whether to eat the rind of @GunnsHillCheese, @brightcheese or @MountainoakC? Here are some guidelines. To brie or not to brie
Scott Gillies added,
Cheese Grotto @CheeseGrotto
Clear the confusion and make way for the rind. @HuffPostTaste http://ow.ly/NFkD306Ak4i
6:13 PM - 9 Dec 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, December 16, 2016 • Permalink