I was drawn to the word, “cheese-stick” appearing in the article titled, “The book that didn’t exist” in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times (April 14), which deals with the art and craft of writing. It reads:
We had collaborated on a project that began a decade earlier. Ruth, a children’s book editor at Random House, was a regular reader of my stories and perhaps the only reader of a manuscript I wrote in my Alphabet City apartment, among my first in New York. It was a sixth-floor walk-up with a cheese-stick operation on the ground floor. A byproduct of cheese-stick manufacturing is a vomit-like smell.
None of CED, OED and Merriam-Webster carries “cheese-stick” although they carry “cheesecake” and “cheese steak.” I can’t find the word on Google Ngram too.
From the context, I surmise “cheese-stick” means “makeshift, sloppy or fragile” operations and construction, but I’m not sure.
What does it mean? Is the word in current use with that meaning?