Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese, Who Am I To Diss a Brie?

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
~G. K. Chesterton

You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.
~Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?
~Charles De Gaulle

We've seen it said before that "the secret ingredient is always cheese." Apologies to the lactose intolerant, but we love cheese, whether it's an ingredient or the main event! We find the library catalog has several items to help us in our quest to enjoy the cheeses of the world, and we've taken a gander at a handful of titles to let you know which ones might be most helpful if you are seeking out new cheese experiences.Whether you want to cook with cheese, serve a cheese board at your next party, or figure out the best way to store some of the trickier cheese options, one of these handy guidebooks should do the trick! Or, even if you just want to look at the pictures - we've got you covered.

World Cheese Book edited by Juliet Harbutt
Encyclopedic presentation, 3 cheeses to a page, each with a small picture. Each cheese entry lists a brief history, a description that includes age and weight and shape, "tasting notes" ("[Lucullus] develops a soft white rind with a mushroomy aroma. It has a wickedly rich, luxurious feel in the mouth and a nutty flavor"), and 'how to enjoy."

The Cheese Board: Collective Works Bread, Pastry, Cheese, Pizza by Alice Waters [eBook]
A lot of history and bread recipes, but it does feature a cheese primer, describing cheeses and what makes good cheese plates and cheesy breads.

Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials: An Insider's Guide to Buying and Serving Cheese - With 50 Recipes by Laura Werlin
Not as many pictures as some of the others, but chock full of handy hints such as "What to Look for When Buying Surface-Ripened Cheese" (visual, textural, and aroma cues), how to store cheese, and what cheeses are soft-ripened, hard, or semi-hard and what they are best used for (burgers, pasta, salads, etc.). Recipes are included, as well as a description of knives you might use.

The Murray's Cheese Handbook: More Than 300 of the World's Best by Rob Kaufelt with Liz Thorpe
A quick guide. Not sure if the unusual size (8 1/2 " x 3 1/2 ") is intended to make it easier to carry, but the presentation would be handy on-the-go. No pictures, but it begins with a helpful guide to using the book.

A Passion for Cheese: More Than 130 Innovative Ways to Cook With Cheese by Paul Gayler  
There are some cheese basics listed in the beginning of the book, but it's a pretty straightforward cookbook, primarily recipes. We're stuck on "Crisp, Flowering Zucchini with Mozzarella & Anchovy" and "Pear, Roquefort Blue & Rosemary Galettes."

It's Not You, It's Brie: Unwrapping America's Unique Culture of Cheese by Kirstin Jackson 
 Strictly a guide to cheeses from the United States, collected in groupings like "Leaf Wrapped: Flavored, Preserved, and Lord of the Rings Ready" and "Gouda Style and Inspirations: Sweeter with Time." No pictures, but there are a few recipes, and every cheese has a story. 

Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: Wedges, Pairings, and Recipes from Philadelphia's House of Cheese by Tenaya Darlington    
Cheeses are described by "personality", and good food matches and alcohol pairings are listed. Some recipes, either featuring the cheese or to eat with the cheese. Beautiful full-page pictures - don't miss Humboldt Fog on page 75. 

Recently, we were in the City Different, and enjoyed the Cheesemongers of Santa Fe's version of a picnic - the Sticknic! A great idea for a quick snack on-the-go or a way to sample cheese. Sorry, no pictures of the actual Sticknic exist, because we ate it immediately, but here's the basic design:

The title of this article is cribbed from a popular internet meme

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