Chapter 4: Straight-Up Feta

Johanna Sorrentino
3 min readSep 4, 2016


This is the fourth chapter of Cheese Dreams, part of a mock scientific report where I test the theory that cheese gives you crazy dreams.

As it turns out, camping creates the perfect condition for cheese dreams for three main reasons:

  1. Sleeping outside in a tent means that you’re almost certainly in for a night of at least partially disrupted sleep, which is what often allows you to remember your dreams.
  2. In the words of Bill Hicks, nature helps you to “squeegee your third eye”.
  3. Any camping cooler worth its weight contains some kind of cheese product.

I was camping with friends in Lassen National Park, about a 5-hour drive northeast of San Francisco. We were OUT THERE. I brought with me the multi-purpose pasta salad that my mom used to make for picnics, barbecues, or anytime you needed to feed some people and get the job done. It’s like a pasta-veggies-beans-olive oil-vinegar thing, but the real reason people shovel it in is because of the copious amounts of feta cheese.

So, we’re sitting around the campfire eating feta cheese with some pasta in it, drinking, making merriment and talking shite. (“Brexit. Departugal. Splitzerland. Italeave.”) It wasn’t until I was back at my tent that I realized it was about 50 degrees, and I was in for a chilly night. I put on absolutely everything I brought to wear and rolled myself into my sleeping bag. I woke up about every 2 hours, but in between I dreamt.

In the dream, me and everyone who I was camping with that night were sitting outside in a circle. We were cold. (Yes. Thank you, Subconscious, for stating the obvious.) We decided to go inside somewhere to get warm and found a small boutique hotel with a roaring fire in the fireplace. We went inside and someone asked the guy at the front desk if we could sit on their floral print couches and warm up. The shit-talking from earlier resumed in full regalia. I was worried we were being too loud. I looked over at the front desk guy, and decided in my dream-state that he was clearly on meth (we were in rural California after all) and he didn’t give a fuggidy fuck how loud we were.

I noticed these black and white balls about the size of a dollar coin rolling around on the hotel floor. I thought they were insects so I started stepping on them, but my friend stopped me shouting: “No, those are skunks. They’ll spray you!” Then I woke up, cold. I recalled the dream. Thought about writing it down. Thought about being cold, and went back to a fitful sleep.

Interpretation: This is one of the most literal dreams I’ve ever had, perhaps because feta is pretty straightforward as cheese goes. You don’t pick up feta in the cheese case and go “I wonder what this will be like?” You never see feta samples. That’s because you know what you’re going to get: Crumbly, salty, smells like feet, but still tasty as hell. I guess my Subconscious fell into a similarly straightforward mood that night. “You want to dream?” it said. “Fine, but I’m tired and cold, so here’s exactly what just transpired with a slightly dreamy twist. Oh yeah, and here’s some skunk balls.” Even the skunk balls could be taken literally.

More pasta with skunk balls, anyone?

Johanna is a writer, editor, professional Googler, and arm-chair sociologist who arcs towards proper adulthood in the Mission District of San Francisco.