Two New Interviews with Gordon Edgar, author of Cheesemonger
Gordon Edgar’s memoir, Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge, continues to amuse and delight readers and cheese-eaters. The author is a wonderful spokesperson for cheese, as these two interviews reveal. Gordon loves the stuff, and that (not a desire to baffle people with his obscure knowledge) is what drives his work.
From Taylor Eason’s blog
Raymond Hook: How long have you been at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative and how did you get the job? Describe a little about Rainbow and your position there.
Gordon Edgar: I started working at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in 1994 and became the cheese buyer within about 6 months. I actually had no background in food before I got hired, my interest in working at Rainbow mostly had to do with wanting to be part of the living experiment in workplace democracy that is Rainbow. Luckily, the mid-‘90s were a less competitive time for cheese selling and I was able to learn while on the job.
Rainbow Grocery Cooperative is a supermarket-sized natural foods store that is owned and run by the people who work there (Read the history of Rainbow Grocery). We’re San Francisco’s largest independent natural food store even though – because of the beliefs of our founders – we don’t carry meat or fish. Luckily, animal rennet got an early exemption so our cheese section can be pretty complete. One of the best things about being worker-owned is that people stick around, so our cheese department is very experienced. Including me, our five most experienced workers have been here a total of about 70 years!
From Say Cheese!
Cheese Appreciation 101
Learning about cheese is within easy reach of anyone who has a sense of adventure and access to a good cheese store. Here are some tips to jump-start the journey.
Gordon Edgar purchases more than a million pounds of cheese a year, has crisscrossed the country in its pursuit and written a book about his career path from punk-scene player to cheese monger. With the best of them, he can reel off names of obscure cheeses, describe with exquisite detail their nuances and offer firsthand knowledge about the people who, as if by magic, transform milk into cheese.
But here’s a little secret: Edgar, author of “Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge,” cut his cheese teeth on bright orange blocks of Velveeta, proof positive that a) in at least one respect, he’s on equal footing with most Americans and b) there’s ample room and opportunity for anyone to advance their cheese adventures.
Cheesemonger is available in our bookstore, where you can also read a preview of the book.
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