Artisan cheese blogger (yes, that’s a real thing, praise Cheesus) and freelance writer Jeanne Carpenter is tired of snobby cheese books, with their froufrou pretentiousness and rarefied pronouncements from on high about “bouquets” and “terroir”. How about a cheese book for people who aren’t as into the cool cache of top-dollar fromage as much as they’re into, I dunno, good-tasting cheese?
You want a cheese book that you’ll want to carry around and show to complete strangers? We got your cheese book right here.
From Cheese Underground:
And with that simple sentence, Gordon Edgar won me over in his new book, “Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge” (Chelsea Green Publishing, January 2010, $17.95). As the cheese buyer for Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco, Gordon was a cheesemonger before cheesemongering was cool. He’s the Barbara Mandrell of the cheese counter.
Fifteen years ago, this former punk rocker bluffed his way into being hired at Rainbow by proclaiming his favorite cheese was “anything raw and rennetless.” Today, he’s considered to be one of the hippest, most knowledgeable cheese buyers in the country.
I bought and sped read his book last week as a writing assignment for a magazine and have to admit I was not looking forward to it, as I’ve really started dreading reading cheese books. Most of the cheese guides hitting the book stores these days are full of pretentious verbiage written by people who assume that by reputation alone, they are THE authority on cheese.
Not Gordon. While several parts of his book caught me off guard – as in spew coffee through my nose surprised – the preface alone was enduring. Here’s how Gordon starts:
“There are plenty of great cheese guidebooks out there. This is not one of them.” Alrighty then. Well, Cheese Underground readers, I guarantee that by the end of Gordon’s book, you’ll disagree. While “Cheesemonger” is billed as the story of one guy’s memoir of his journey into the cheese business, it’s also an inspiring, introspective read for people like me who have always struggled with being cool enough to fit into the hip cheese crowd.