- Chelsea Green - http://www.chelseagreen.com/content -

Gordon Edgar Reports from Cheese-A-Topia!

Posted By admin On September 3, 2010 @ 12:00 pm In Food & Health | Comments Disabled

Gordon Edgar, author of the memoir Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge, reports in two recent blog posts about his recent trip to the American Cheese Society conference in Seattle. He was a judge and also gave a reading from the book (a somewhat difficult combination, he admits).

I am not a good traveler. It kind of hurts me to admit it, but it’s true. If it’s not anxiety, it’s ailments. I knew it was risky getting on the plane to Seattle with a head full of allergy congestion, but wow… I was in serious pain by the time I landed even though it was only a 1.5 hour flight. My ears weren’t just stuffed — I had about 25% of normal hearing in my left ear, 50% in the right – but they were painful. Like someone was jabbing them with icepicks. I felt like a cheesemonger Trotsky… but then I guess I do sometimes.

When I got to the Seattle Sheraton – home of the 2010 American Cheese Society Conference [1] – I ignored my cheesy friends, loading up on antihistamines, ordered terrible, overpriced room service, and went to bed. I had 1400-some cheeses to judge the next day.

Of course, as most of you know by now, I didn’t have to judge that many cheeses myself. I was part of 15 teams of two dairy professionals – one aesthetic judge (me and other retailers, distributors, and/or writers) and one technical judge (usually a dairy scientist). We each taste and judge a few subcategories — about 50-60 cheeses a day. Then, we taste all the winners of each subcategory to decide on a winner for Best of Show. This year, that was about 100 more cheeses.

IMG_2894 [2]

Dr. Nana Farkye (of Cal Poly) and me were a judging team. Chutarat from the Cheese Board Collective [3]and Bonnie from a cold storage company (that I didn’t catch the name of) were the folks who kept the cheeses coming.

I can’t count how many times I was asked, “How do you taste that many cheeses and not die?”

Read the rest of Gordon’s entry on Cheese Judging here… [4]

After lending his expert palate to the monstrously delicious task of judging cheeses, Gordon had a reading from his book at The Calf and Kid.

I had no other options, but it was kinda crazy to schedule a reading after a day of judging cheese. I imagine that in any forum where one needs to use their voice, one is never given the advice to taste cheese for 8 hours beforehand. It does not exactly limber up the larynx.

But Tuesday night before the cheese conference was really the only time I could do a book event and not be in competition with the officially sanctioned parties. Though I would miss a lot of the conference goers, I figured it would be a good event mixed with Seattle-locals and cheese travelers. And I love The Calf and Kid [5]. Sheri runs a really fabulous shop. (Plus she gave me a CD of her hubby’s punk band!)

One thing I hadn’t realized was how loud it was going to be there. I had only been there once before and not all the businesses had opened yet. My addled, cheese-soaked voice had to compete with the restaurant next door. I decided I could only read short pieces. I could barely hear myself. I made everyone gather in close too.

calf kid set up [6]
(Sheana Davis, the mastermind behind Delice de la Vallee and the Epicurean Connection [7] organized all the cheese for the event. Pt. Reyes Toma, Nicasio Valley Cheese, Valley Ford Cheese, and Carr Valley Cheese amused the attendees when I cut my reading short-ish.)

It’s always great to do a reading with a lot of cheese folks because they really get into it. When I talk about oozy, nasty Taleggio, they’ve lived it themselves. Many came up to trade stories afterwards, and many are worse than the ones I tell. It was also handy because other folks jumped in to answer questions.

Despite my voice woes, it was a wonderful event. I can’t list everyone who was there but it was awesome to have cheese mentors like Judy and Charlie Creighton in the same room with some of my favorite cheese-friends, old friends, the cheese-curious, and even my agent!

Thanks everyone!

*Along with all my old friends and cheese friends, I also got to meet Kurt Reighley whose book United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement [8] comes out this week! I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – too much cheese! – but I promise a review when I do.

**There is also an account of the reading in Jeanne Carpenter’s Cheese Underground Blog [9]

Cheesemonger [10] is available in our bookstore.


Article printed from Chelsea Green: http://www.chelseagreen.com/content

URL to article: http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/gordon-edgar-reports-from-cheese-a-topia/

URLs in this post:

[1] 2010 American Cheese Society Conference: http://www.cheesesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2010-ACS-Judging-and-Competition-Results.pdf

[2] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/80806269@N00/4941949709/

[3] Cheese Board Collective : http://cheeseboardcollective.coop/cheese_bakery

[4] Read the rest of Gordon’s entry on Cheese Judging here…: http://gordonzola.net/2010/08/30/cheese-a-topia-judging/

[5] The Calf and Kid: http://calfandkid.blogspot.com/

[6] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/80806269@N00/4942533522/

[7] the mastermind behind Delice de la Vallee and the Epicurean Connection: http://www.sheanadavis.com/

[8] United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061946494/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0671038699&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0F50J74HVBM4QQTGYRSY

[9] Cheese Underground Blog: http://cheeseunderground.blogspot.com/2010/08/sunburn-in-seattle.html

[10] Cheesemonger: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/cheesemonger:paperback

Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com