Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Cheese and Culture is a “tour de force”

The first review of Paul Kindstedt’s Cheese and Culture is in, from his colleague Cathy Donnelly at the University of Vermont.

When Ben Watson from Chelsea Green asked if I would review Cheese and Culture, I felt as if I had been given a gift. I have been most fortunate to enjoy a lengthy career working alongside my esteemed and academically talented colleague Paul Kindstedt. Only a true scholar could weave together the complexity of history, anthropology, language, geography, religion and science to inform and enlighten our understanding of the evolution of cheese making throughout the millennia. Kindstedt, first and foremost with his discerning scientific mind, helps historians inform the heretofore mysteries in the cheese making continuum. My favorite part of the narrative was reading the reasoning used by Paul when historical explanations fell short and defied scientific explanation. For instance, statements such as “cheese of the fig tree” were dismissed as nonsensical by Harry Hofffner in his translations of descriptions of fresh cheeses made in Turkey by the Hittite’s (1400 B.C.)  This statement is instead seen by Kindstedt as scientific documentation of rennet usage in cheese making by early civilizations. Similarly, the early origins of butter making from sheep milk are reasoned by Kindstedt using his scientific knowledge and logic. Kindstedt’s painstakingly researched account of cheese and culture will serve as a central reference for individuals passionate about food, food history and cheese. This work is a tour de force which can only emerge from the most deeply thoughtful intellectuals. This is the culmination of his scholarly career, where all of his knowledge and personal interests have intersected to produce a text which only he could so richly author. For those individuals who enjoy cheese for its sensory character, a read of this book will elevate cheese enjoyment to a whole new intellectual level. Students at the University of Vermont are most fortunate to be able to participate in Paul’s course which accompanies this book. Does dissemination of such rich and historical knowledge facilitate a newfound enjoyment and appreciation of cheese? I can’t wait to find out.

Kindstedt challenges previously held theories about cheese making practices and origins. For instance, he makes a compelling case which proposes that bandage wrapping of Cheddar cheese actually originated in the U.S. as opposed to England. He also weaves the unfortunate history of slavery and the role of slaves in cheese making within the U.S. He ends this treatise back in New England and Vermont and challenges all of us living in our global society to think of where cheese making is headed in the U.S. in the future. The rebirth of the U.S. artisan cheese movement gives us all hope, and this book illustrates how this movement has been richly informed by the deep cultural and historical origins of cheese making.

The historical literature, some of which equates barbarianism with the lack of cheese making knowledge and expertise, resonates today as we appreciate refinements which have expanded centuries old traditions of cheese making. Where gaps in knowledge remain, I hope this marvelous work will spur new inquiry by the next generation of food system scholars. This would be a fitting legacy for this remarkable effort documented by Paul.


Why Modern Wheat Is Making Us Sick

Why is modern wheat making us sick?  That’s the question posed by author Eli Rogosa in her new book Restoring Heritage Grains.Wheat is the most widely grown crop on our planet, yet industrial breeders have transformed this ancient staff of life into a commodity of yield and profit—witness the increase in gluten intolerance and ‘wheat […] Read More

Recipe: How to Make a Simple No-Knead Einkorn Bread

If, like author Eli Rogosa,  you are allergic to modern wheat, it may be time to investigate baking with einkorn.Rogosa suffered miserably from bloating, malabsorption, and indigestion for many years. No doctor could help her, but when she removed wheat from her diet, the symptoms vanished. Her vitality returned with the added bonus of pounds […] Read More

Recipe: Sandor’s Strawberry Kvass (from Wild Fermentation)

Since its publication in 2003, Wild Fermentation has inspired people to turn their kitchens into food labs: fermenting vegetables into sauerkraut, milk into cheese or yogurt, grains into sourdough bread, and much more.This updated and revised edition, now with full color photos throughout, is sure to introduce a whole new generation to the flavors and health […] Read More

Recipe: Fermented Hot Sauce with Wild Greens

Like hot sauce? Fermenting? Wild greens? This Fermented Hot Sauce with Wild Greens recipe from The New Wildcrafted Cuisine has it all! Wild foods are becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people want to learn how to identify plants and forage for their own ingredients, but self-described “culinary alchemist” deeply explores the flavors of […] Read More

The Fermentation Revolution Wants You!

Michael Pollan calls him the “Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation” and he’s known far and wide as Sandorkraut. He’s also been dubbed The Prince of Pickles and a Fermentation Fetishist, but we also know him as Sandor Ellix Katz—The New York Times-bestselling and Beard Award-winning author. With the long-awaited and soon-to-be celebrated release of the updated […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com