A Brief History of Cheese
What the goodness of Gouda has to do with MRI scans have to do with microbial engineering.
By Maria Popova
The average American eats some 33 pounds of cheese per year, up from under 22 pounds in 1954. Cheese comes in some 2,000 varieties and has been around for some 4,000 years. The Science and Art of Cheese, a new microdocumentary from KQED, explores the rich and nuanced spectrum of this cultural fixation, from unraveling the secrets of cheese artisans, who hone the aesthetic and sensory attributes of fermented blocks of milk, to scientists who stick feta in the MRI in order to reduce its salt content without changing its texture.
Cheese is incredily scientific. Cheese is a living, dynamic food, and it changes during aging. By adding certain bacteria, we can change the direction of one common nutrient — milk — into many, many different products.”
Artisan cheese is a craft, it’s hand-made, it’s not made by pushing a button. It takes people to try to extract the most flavor and the most beauty of of this handmade product.”
To further feed your cheese curiosity, you won’t go wrong with Andrew Dalby’s Cheese: A Global History — a fascinating journey across eras, cheese types and cultures, interweaving curious factoids to drop at your next dinner party with 40 stunning color plates and 20 in black-and-white.
Published May 20, 2011