Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reader discretion advised!

I love cheese: bleu, Brie, feta, romano, 6-yr old Vermont cheddar. Yum! But I look at cheese the way I look at sausage - I just want to eat it, I don't want to think about how it's made. And I certainly don't want to see page after page of close-up photos of furry mold and read descriptions like this: "Over the fine ash coating, a fine, velvetlike white Penicillium candidum mold is overlaid by splotches of blue-gray Penicillium glaucum". Hmm...carve me off a slice of that, please!
But if you are a cheese fanatic, someone who gets "Cheese of the Month" club for Christmas, someone who drives around California sampling artisinal cheesemakers rather than vinyards, then you want to read this new book; World Cheese Book, edited by Juliet Harbutt, is a celebration of salted, curdled milk. Cypriot Halloumi, Swiss Emmentaler, British Stinking Bishop, Catalan Tupi and Montery Jack are all lavishly laid out, complete with tasting notes, age and producer. You can see how different cheeses are made, learn about their historical connotations, and get inspired to host a cheese-tasting party of your own. Just don't tell your guests they're ingesting "fine gray, brown, and white an intricately woven spider web".

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