Food Metaphors: Why We Say a Cheese Tastes Nutty
Writing about cheese (or any food) can prove to be difficult, especially when describing the taste. "Herby" might be a good adjective to use, but something like "a sprig of parsley" gives us a better idea. This thoughtful essay attempts to understand our use of food metaphors.
Not long ago, a fellow cheesemonger and I were talking about the way we describe food – specifically, in selling cheese to our customers. “Like ‘nutty,’” she said. “Nuts really have nothing to do with the production of cheese.”
Why do I think of the flavor of sesame seeds when I taste Moses Sleeper, from Jasper Hill Farm, in Vermont? Why Brazil nuts with a recent Taleggio or pistachio when tasting Caprotto? Why do we describe specific tastes, or hints of taste, with things that are most certainly uncheese-like? Because these metaphors help people understand what to expect from a cheese.