Picture, if you will, a gentleman some 8000 years ago getting ready to take a journey in what is present day Iraq. He has nourishment for the journey…milk, stored in his brand-spanking new piece of beverage flask made from a cow’s stomach. He gets on his mode of transportation, be it horse, cattle or camel, and proceeds to go on his merry way.
The ride is a rough one. The animal he rides forces him up-down-up-down-up-down as he sits. When he gets to his destination, he’s a tad relieved that his tuckus will no longer be subjected to the ride.
Thirsty, he opens his flask of milk and finds…cheese curds and whey.
The above is how food anthropologists theorize how cheese was discovered. Accidentally, as many good foods have also been discovered.
Here’s the thing to remember about cheese and it’s place in food history. Cheese was one of the first foodstuffs that required a specific process in order to be made (Bread was the very first). It is also probably the one food in which I have the greatest affinity for.
True story: My father, a sales rep for PPG, was often on the road. When he’d get home, he’d feel guilty enough to take my siblings and myself out to for our favorite treats. My brother and sisters would invariably choose Baskin-Robbins, a pleasant choice. However, being the precocious eight year old that I was, I wanted to go to the cheese store next door and get various cheeses and spreads.
Even as a youth, I was a bit of a food freak.
But enough about me, let’s get back to the cheeses. I love cheese, I love the varieties, and I love the taste. The smell? The smell I can take or leave (depending on the cheese), but can anyone truly convince me of anything better than a perfectly ripened cheese on a cracker, or next to fruit? Even some of the better dishes out there require that cheese need make an appearance. Try pasta without an Italian cheese…it’d be a sad, sad pasta dish I promise you.
So as we wind down wine, expect more on cheese. Recipes, hints, tips, and some other topics.