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.


Q&A with Pascal Baudar: The New Wildcrafted Cuisine

A Q&A with Pascal Baudar, author of The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir Go foraging with master forager Pascal Baudar this Spring! The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College presents a 2-week intensive course on Foraging and Wildcrafting. Learn to identify, process, preserve, cook, and EAT the […] Read More

RECIPE: Grilled Nopalitos for Cinco de Mayo

From The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook Native to Mexico and prevalent throughout the Southwest and California, the prickly pear or nopal cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica, is a stunning drought-hearty landscaping plant, natural barbed-wire fence, and a source of nutritious food – both pads and fruit are edible. Inside the prickly pads lies a cooling, […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you.Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all […] Read More

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation – Review in Small Farm Canada Magazine

This review was originally published in Small Farm Canada, Volume 12, Issue 5, September/October 2015If you could have only one book on mushroom production…Review by Janet WallaceTradd Cotter‘s book, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, is a masterpiece. I have long been interested in growing mushrooms and have read several books on the topic. This book, […] Read More

Hands-On Learning: School of The New American Farmstead

This summer, twelve of our authors (plus Chelsea Green’s own President and Publisher) will be leading hands-on intensive courses at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont. These workshops, classes, and certifications will inspire you, equip you with marketable skills, and provide you with new perspectives on integrated, community-centered farming and food production. Engage your Senses The […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com