Your initial attempt at putting together a solid cheese plate is a lot like having sex for the first time. You think it will be the final step to becoming a true adult. But you have no idea what you're doing, and end up risking embarrassment for little more than a messy table and bad breath.
Really though, assembling a solid cheese board takes little more than a trip to Trader Joe's. You just need to know what to look for. So we enlisted the help of author and ex-VP of NYC’s Murray's Cheese Liz Thorpe to decode the dairy aisle.
You'd think a fancy-pants cheese consultant would be doing us a favor by stooping to Trader Joe's instead of some bougie shop. But Thorpe's a certified TJ's fan, and praised the store's quality, price point, and ample cracker/fruit selection. She shared her tips on cheese shopping, plus a plan to execute a baller TJ's cheese spread for around $21 (minus crackers and such). That's more than enough cheese for eight people. Adjust your purchase according to the number of guests, and definitely use that extra money for a case or six of Two Buck Chuck.