Route 662: A Cheesy Romance

                            Courtesy Photo

I have no idea what M.A.F.E.S. stands for, nor do I really care. What matters is that when in Starkville I am drawn to this odd little establishment smack dab in the middle of Mississippi State University’s campus, called the MAFES Sales Store. I always have a little trouble finding it among the many similar red brick-clad boxes making up the academic landscape, but I persevere, driven by a fascination with cheese. Any mouse would understand.

The reward for finding it at 925 Stone Blvd is experiencing what it’s like to be surrounded by cheese… as the sign says “sweet dreams are made of cheese…” The Eurythmics’ iconic video parodied by this sign features a cow, and MSU is often lovingly referred to as “Cow College.” But when inside, it is the cow products you are amazed by. There is ice cream and milk. And for those of us suffering from con-dementia, there is a range of therapeutic condiments, locally made. Peanuts, jams, and juices too.

But among these delights looms some giant red cannonballs. Like a civil war battleground, these things are strewn around the place, adorned with the appealing EDAM label. Can’t help but think they are saying “Eat ’em.” I doubted anyone could eat that much cheese, but I am here to tell you they can. My last purchase lasted less than a week. There’s cheddar and something they developed called Vallagret. Neither of these would fit as nicely into a cannon barrel. I suppose not all cheese is designed to be artillery projectiles.

Those interested in visiting this weird store will have to figure out their hours, which are dependent on school sessions, and overlook the multitude of distracted young attendants, something one expects of people of that age. Get their attention and they will sell you this stuff. Feel proud it’s all from Mississippi sources and leave with as many culinary oddities as you dare to try. More at