Chelsea Green Publishing

Cheddar

Pages:224 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603585651
Pub. Date October 23, 2015
Paperback: 9781603587044
Pub. Date April 26, 2017

Cheddar

A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese

Categories:
Food & Drink

Availability: In Stock

Hardcover

Available Date:
October 23, 2015

$25.00

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
April 26, 2017

$17.95

One of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and beloved cheeses in the world, the history of cheddar is a fascinating one. Over the years it has been transformed, from a painstakingly handmade wheel to a rindless, mass-produced block, to a liquefied and emulsified plastic mass untouched by human hands. The Henry Fordism of cheddar production in many ways anticipated the advent of industrial agriculture.  They don’t call it “American Cheese” for nothing.

Cheddar is one man’s picaresque journey to find out what a familiar food can tell us about ourselves. Cheddar may be appreciated in almost all American homes, but the advocates of the traditional wheel versus the processed slice often have very different ideas about food. Since cheddar—with its diversity of manufacturing processes and tastes—is such a large umbrella, it is the perfect food through which to discuss many big food issues that face our society.

More than that, though, cheddar actually holds a key to understanding not only issues surrounding food politics, but also some of the ways we think of our cultural identity. Cheddar, and its offshoots, has something to tell us about this country: the way people rally to certain cheddars but not others; the way they extol or denounce the way others eat it; the role of the commodification of a once-artisan cheese and the effect that has on rural communities.  The fact that cheddar is so common that it is often taken for granted means that examining it can lead us to the discovery of usually unspoken truths.

Author Gordon Edgar (Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge) is well equipped to take readers on a tour through the world of cheddar. For more than fifteen years he has worked as an iconoclastic cheesemonger in San Francisco, but his sharp talent for observation and social critique were honed long before then, in the world of ’zines, punk rock, and progressive politics. His fresh perspectives on such a seemingly common topic are as thought provoking as they are entertaining.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

“From the chief ingredient in Kraft's Mac ‘n’ Cheese to the quintessential artisan creation, cheddar cheese represents the extremes of American food culture—all delightfully deconstructed and savored in Gordon Edgar's eponymous book. Great reading for aficionados of food and cultural history.”--Sally Fallon Morell, president, The Weston A. Price Foundation

Library Journal-

"Edgar (Cheesemonger) explores the U.S. production of cheddar cheese and how this popular food has affected American history and culture. The book focuses on the broad history of cheddar production from its origins in England to current methods used in the United States with emphasis on the cheese hubs of Wisconsin, Vermont, and California. The culture and politics surrounding cheesemaking and dairy farming in these states are compared and contrasted, and interspersed with amusing anecdotes from Edgar’s many cheese-judging and research trips. Of course, the varying types and flavors of American cheddars and curds are discussed, using case studies of famous producers such as Cabot and Tillamook, and interviews with prominent cheesemakers. Edgar is especially interested in the ways that cheesemaking has changed over the years, and addresses changes in farming technology, scientific advances, roles of women, exports, and standardization of cheddar flavors, appearance, and processing. VERDICT: A wry look at the world of cheesemaking, this work will interest casual cheese aficionados, but its broad scope will likely not provide new information to fervent fans or industry professionals.”

“On the surface, it would be easy to dismiss a book about a cheese so integral to the gustatory fabric of the American experience that it’s hardly noticed as much more than a standard hamburger’s melted shroud. But this paean to America’s cheese tells the journey of a food integrally linked to the rise of ‘cultures’ in America (cheese and manufacturing, both) and, no less, to our value system. In Gordon’s eminently capable hands, what could be a staid single-subject book is blithely entertaining, peppered with laugh-out-loud, respectful and occasionally irreverent anecdotes, and ultimately a story chock-full of historical and contextual references that come together to create a newfound understanding and respect for a cheese that, because of this essential book, will never be ‘just cheddar’ again.”--Laura Werlin, author of Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials

Cheddar by Gordon Edgar is a book of vignettes, ripened from the author's wanderings around the country, milled with both large and small cheese-making experiences, peppered throughout with Gordon's political views, and aged to perfection. Edgar shares his knowledge in sometimes smooth, sometimes sharp, and sometimes bitter ways, coming up with an overview that is tried, ripened, and ready to read.”--Ricki Carroll, owner, New England Cheesemaking Supply Company

“Gordon Edgar’s latest work, Cheddar, is a lively story of this much-maligned but iconic cheese. No longer will I quickly pass over the large blocks of golden cheddar. Edgar has traveled the country unearthing the historic roots of cheddar, from the artisan clothbound wheels to the mass-produced blocks of commodity cheese, and writes with wit and humor. His passion and experience as a cheesemonger are evident, and the reader can’t help but love cheddar by the end of this spirited book.”--Kurt Timmermeister, author of Growing a Farmer

“In this witty and well-researched study of an iconic food, Gordon Edgar serves up a satisfying slice of Americana. More than any other cheese, cheddar evidences America’s tradition of innovation and embodies the paradoxes of our food system. From mammoth, processed blocks to clothbound, lard-rubbed wheels, Edgar details how cheddar straddles the continuum of industrial and artisanal manufacture to safely nourish great numbers of people while reinforcing class distinctions marked by taste. This welcome book credits the labor and ingenuity of America’s food makers, both past and present.”--Heather Paxson, author of The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America

“Over the years I have read many thought-provoking works on cheddar cheese, mostly dealing with cheese science and technology, but rarely have such texts been ‘fun’ to read. Gordon Edgar’s exploration of cheddar is both thought-provoking and fun, and has given me a fresh perspective on a cheese that I have studied for years and cherished all my life.”--Paul Kindstedt, author of Cheese and Culture

“Kudos to Gordon Edgar for his comprehensive history and contemporary analysis of America’s iconic cheese. For any lover of cheddar, Edgar crafts the story of its unique place--from early farm-based, handmade products to standardized, industrial cheese to its renaissance over the past twenty to twenty-five years. A book to savor, it helps us understand how cheddar evolves over four centuries. He stirs an entertaining vat of literature, science, poetry, and sociology to reflect broad changes in American agriculture and our connections to food and place. Make sure to have a piece of cheddar, and perhaps a glass of beer, to accompany your journey!”--Jeffrey Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gordon Edgar

Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, and has been combining both of these infatuations as the cheese buyer for San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative since 1994. Edgar has been a judge at numerous national cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and has had a blog since 2002, which can be found at www.gordonzola.net. Edgar is the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (Chelsea Green 2010) and he enjoys mold in the right places, good cheese stink, and washing his hands upwards of one hundred times a day.

 

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

Cheesemonger

Cheesemonger

By Gordon Edgar

Witty and irreverent, informative and provocative, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge is the highly readable story of Gordon Edgar's unlikely career as a cheesemonger at San Francisco's worker-owned Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. A former punk-rock political activist, Edgar bluffed his way into his cheese job knowing almost nothing, but quickly discovered a whole world of amazing artisan cheeses. There he developed a deep understanding and respect for the styles, producers, animals, and techniques that go into making great cheese.

With a refreshingly unpretentious sensibility, Edgar intertwines his own life story with his ongoing love affair with cheese, and offers readers an unflinching, highly entertaining on-the-ground look at America's growing cheese movement. From problem customers to animal rights, business ethics to taste epiphanies, this book offers something for everyone, including cheese profiles and recommendations for selecting the very best-not just the most expensive-cheeses from the United States and around the world and a look at the struggles dairy farmers face in their attempts to stay on and make their living from the land.

Edgar-a smart, progressive cheese man with an activist's edge-enlightens and delights with his view of the world from behind the cheese counter and his appreciation for the skill and tradition that go into a good wedge of Morbier.

Cheesemonger is the first book of its kind-a cheese memoir with attitude and information that will appeal to everyone from serious foodies to urban food activists.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Cheesemonger

Gordon Edgar

Paperback $17.95

AUTHOR VIDEOS

An Interview with Gordon Edgar, Cheesemonger

4 Things to Know About Buying Cheese

An Interview with Gordon Edgar, Cheesemonger (Extended)

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

By Tradd Cotter

What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation help us manage, or at least make use of, invasive species such as kudzu and water hyacinth and thereby reduce dependence on herbicides? Is it possible to develop a low-cost and easy-to-implement mushroom-growing kit that would provide high-quality edible protein and bioremediation in the wake of a natural disaster? How can we advance our understanding of morel cultivation so that growers stand a better chance of success? 

For more than twenty years, mycology expert Tradd Cotter has been pondering these questions and conducting trials in search of the answers. In Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Cotter not only offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices; he shares the results of his groundbreaking research and offers myriad ways to apply your cultivation skills and further incorporate mushrooms into your life—whether your goal is to help your community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale. 

The book first guides readers through an in-depth exploration of indoor and outdoor cultivation. Covered skills range from integrating wood-chip beds spawned with king stropharia into your garden and building a “trenched raft” of hardwood logs plugged with shiitake spawn to producing oysters indoors on spent coffee grounds in a 4×4 space or on pasteurized sawdust in vertical plastic columns. For those who aspire to the self-sufficiency gained by generating and expanding spawn rather than purchasing it, Cotter offers in-depth coverage of lab techniques, including low-cost alternatives that make use of existing infrastructure and materials. 

Cotter also reports his groundbreaking research cultivating morels both indoors and out, “training” mycelium to respond to specific contaminants, and perpetuating spawn on cardboard without the use of electricity. Readers will discover information on making tinctures, powders, and mushroom-infused honey; making an antibacterial mushroom cutting board; and growing mushrooms on your old denim jeans.

Geared toward readers who want to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides, Cotter takes “organic” one step further by introducing an entirely new way of thinking—one that looks at the potential to grow mushrooms on just about anything, just about anywhere, and by anyone.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

Tradd Cotter

Paperback $39.95

Pawpaw

Pawpaw

By Andrew Moore

The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It grows wild in twenty-six states, gracing Eastern forests each fall with sweet-smelling, tropical-flavored abundance. Historically, it fed and sustained Native Americans and European explorers, presidents, and enslaved African Americans, inspiring folk songs, poetry, and scores of place names from Georgia to Illinois. Its trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered.

So why have so few people heard of the pawpaw, much less tasted one?  

In Pawpaw—a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category—author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years. 

As much as Pawpaw is a compendium of pawpaw knowledge, it also plumbs deeper questions about American foodways—how economic, biologic, and cultural forces combine, leading us to eat what we eat, and sometimes to ignore the incredible, delicious food growing all around us. If you haven’t yet eaten a pawpaw, this book won’t let you rest until you do.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Pawpaw

Andrew Moore, Michael W. Twitty

Paperback $19.95

The Small-Scale Cheese Business

The Small-Scale Cheese Business

By Gianaclis Caldwell

There has never been a better time to be making and selling great cheese. People worldwide are consuming more high-quality, handmade cheese than ever before. The number of artisan cheesemakers has doubled in recent years, and many of the industry’s newcomers are “farmstead” producers–those who work only with the milk of their own animals. Today, more than ever before, the people who choose to become farmer-cheesemakers need access to the knowledge of established cheese artisans who can help them build their dream.

Few career choices lead to such extremes of labor, emotion, and monetary challenge. In The Small-Scale Cheese Business (originally published in 2010 as The Farmstead Creamery Advisor), respected cheesemaker, instructor, and speaker Gianaclis Caldwell walks would-be producers through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions they will face when considering a career in this burgeoning cottage industry. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as:

    * Analyzing your suitability for the career;
    * Designing and building the cheese facility;
    * Sizing up the market;
    * Negotiating day-to-day obstacles;
    * Ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.

Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers’ experiences, Caldwell brings to life the story of creating a successful cheesemaking business in a practical, organized manner. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in becoming a licensed artisan cheesemaker, The Small-Scale Cheese Business will also appeal to the many small and hobby-farm owners who already have milking animals and who wish to improve their home dairy practices and facilities.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Small-Scale Cheese Business

Gianaclis Caldwell

Paperback $34.95

Genetic Roulette

Genetic Roulette

By Jeffrey M. Smith

Never-before-seen evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the U.S. population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems identified in humans, pets. livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.

Monsanto's strong-arm tactics, the FDA's fraudulent policies, and how the USDA ignores a growing health emergency are also laid bare. This sometimes shocking film may change your diet, help you protect your family, and accelerate the consumer tipping point against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A film not to be missed.

Also includes the bonus DVD Seeds of Freedom (28 min.) narrated by Jeremy Irons, and produced by the Gaia Foundation and African Biodiversity Network. This landmark film shows how the story of seed at the hands of multinationals has become one of loss, control, dependence, and debt. Also: two talks by Jeffrey M. Smith and twelve public-service announcements.

Available in: DVD

Read More

Genetic Roulette

Jeffrey M. Smith, Jeremy Irons, Lisa Oz, Micah Salaberrios

DVD $19.95