A friend of mine is working on a delightful children’s picture book series with the emphasis on science education. In the first book, “Grammy” explains all about the moon, with terms and examples a young child can easily grasp.
Fortunately for me, she’s writing in terms an older person can also understand.
So I’ll throw this out to my readership… Do YOU know where the idea that the moon was made of green cheese came from?
Well, it had never occurred to me before last week that the “green” was not referring to color. A “green” cheese simply refers to it being new, young, fresh, not fully developed, unripe, immature and unprocessed. If I had thought about it from an etymological standpoint, I might have looked to “green lumber,” “green recruit,” or “greenhorn” to understand the moon “being green.”
After my friend left, I dug a little deeper into the history of the phrase. The first reference to the moon being made of green cheese dates back to 1546. A proverb was written in which a simpleton saw a reflection of the moon in the water and mistakes it for a fresh, round cheese wheel. Ok, I can see how a simpleton might think that.
Living here in the metaphorical shadow of the Tillamook Cheese Factory, today the fable might be written stating the moon was made of “squeaky cheese.” Squeaky cheese is technically the same as green cheese, and looking closely, I do believe the pockmarked face of man in the moon looks a lot like he’s been sculpted from it.
So pass it on: The moon is made of squeaky cheese! Just don’t tell “Grammy” I said so!