It’s funny how the brain works when it’s relaxed. While the Big T and I were away, we got to talking about cheese … as you do.
When we were little kids, there were four kinds of cheese in New Zealand; Mild, Medium, Tasty and Colby.
It may be that there were also places one could buy Camembert and Brie, perhaps even Stilton or Feta; but NZ-made, mass-produced cheese pretty much fell into those four categories.
Chesdale is a locally-made processed cheese much beloved of children. It used to be sold in blocks and in little circular containers of six individually wrapped wedges. Later, both of these were replaced with packages containing individually-wrapped slices.
Chesdale is a New Zealand institution; helped enormously by the fact that it had a great TV advertising campaign featuring two dancing cartoon farmers (called Ches and Dale naturally). The jingle was so memorable that I suspect anyone who has lived here for a while (and certainly anyone who was here between 1968 and 1975 when the ad played) would be able — without hesitation — to sing it.
We are the boys from down on the farm,
We really know our cheese.
There’s much better value in Chesdale,
It never fails to please.
Chesdale slices thinly, never crumbles, there’s no waste,
And boy it’s got a mighty taste.
It’s finest cheddar. Made better.
— Chesdale cheese jingle; Robert Jenkins and Terry Gray.
There is even a tale (perhaps apocryphal) that a NZ trade delegation to Ireland sang the Chesdale jingle at a function because it was the only NZ “folk song” they all knew. (3)
And if the catchy tune wasn’t enough, inside the packaging there were “Skintees” — temporary skin transfers. These were THE currency of playground cool and led us to drive our mothers nuts begging for Chesdale to be included in the weekly grocery shopping.
The Chesdale campaign ended in the 1970s, but — according to the Big T — the imagery didn’t disappear. He reckons that Ches and Dale just grew up and morphed into the two old men who featured in a series of advertisements for Mainland cheese during the 1990s and 2000s.
I think he might have something there. Funny how the brain works.