What do Homer’s Odyssey, slave labor, and European monasteries have in common? Cheese!
Recently, award-winning journalist Callie Crossley welcomed food scientist and author Paul Kindstedt to her show to tell the grand narrative of cheese and describe how deeply interwoven this special food is with the rise and development of our culture.
In his new book, Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization, Kindstedt traces cheese from ancient civilization to the 21st century. He not only tracks how cheese changed the arc of human history, he also examines the versatility of this dairy wonder. Turns out a pockmarked wedge of artisanal Swiss and the preternaturally shiny and smooth Kraft single are linked by milk curds that are part of cheesemaking’s 9,000 year-old history.
From his point of view as leader of the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, Kindstedt not only knows the story of cheese’s past, he sees the rapidly growing resurgence of small-scale cheesemaking. Even as industrial food grows in power, the culture of cheese as a food made by hand, a food that connects people to the sunlight, the grass, and the animals we share this planet with – is alive and well!
Listen to the show below, or on WGBH’s website.