One of the things that makes me happiest is to see a big pile of cheese books greeting me when I enter a book shop. It means people are paying proper attention to one of the best food groups in the world.
Editors are understanding that cheese is worth the word-count, writers and anthropologists are realizing that cheese’s delicious, culture and history are worth studying, and readers are willing to pay for knowledge shared by an expert or obsessed enthusiast. I’m game. I’m reading, I’m buying, and I’m writing (I’m also launching a campaign to convince people that cheese is its own food group,….. how am I doing?).
The following three books are new or somewhat new ones that I’m making a home for in my overstuffed cheese bookcase.
Tenaya Darlington, food writer and author of the Madame Fromage blog, teamed up with Philadelphia’s esteemed Di Bruno Brothers to write a cheese guide book. Covering all sorts of cheese deliciousness from the world, Darlington offers cheese party advice, explores different styles and flavors, and shares some pretty tasty recipes. The book is stuffed with gorgeous pictures, approachable writing, and looks pretty sexy on a coffee table. Besides, I just love Darlington. She’s a vibrant writer and person.
There’s something magical that happens to one’s soul when they have the chance to meet someone whose writing and research they’re enamored with and realize that…. gasp… they’re also an awesome person. Doesn’t always happen that way. After being blessed with the opportunity to hear Heather Paxson speak at the ACS conference in Madison, I’m all the more excited to recommend her book. It’s a serious look at cheese’s socio-economic and cultural role in society. Paxson is an anthropologist who spent years doing ethnographic research with cheesemakers in the northeast asking what cheese means to those that make and eat it. A beautiful, thorough, thoughtful consideration, written by an MIT anthropologist in a readable and engaging style (i.e. – non-academics can still enjoy the hell out of this book).
Cheese and Beer San Francisco Chronicle’s cheese columnist and food writer Janet Fletcher looks at two of the most awesome craft products in the United States right now. I’ll let you guess what they are. This is a great first look at the ins and outs of beer and cheese pairing. Lovely pictures (though I admit I always try to dust the photographed bread crumbs off the cover) and lively overviews on beer styles. A great reference.