Hands up who’s heard of Pimento Cheese? Chances are that unless you’re from the Southern United States, at this very moment your eyebrows are raised in puzzlement. At least mine were, when the cheese was first described to me.
However, last week I met with Martha Davis Kipcak, a Texas native, stellar cook, producer of Pimento cheese and general “tour de force”. Martha, who moved to Wisconsin twelve years ago, is also thoroughly involved in the Slow Food movement as well as several other sustainable food and community oriented endeavors.
Upon her arrival in the Dairy State, she was amazed at the lack of availability or even knowledge of her favorite staple, Pimento Cheese. However, like most Southern cooks, she set about making it herself for home use, adjusting the recipe to her liking and finessing the final product.
Cheese and dairy products are truly one of those things that the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
For example, its hard enough to to get your head around the notion and process that turns liquid milk into cheese. However, once you’ve conquered that, such questions naturally arise as “what makes a cheddar a cheddar” or “what makes brie a brie.”
Well, like any regular recipe, many different factors contribute to the overall result. That said, perhaps the single most critical factor in determining what variety of cheese is produced are the addition of starter cultures that give the cheese its main characterisitcs.
Starter cultures are usually added to the vat of milk at the beginning of the cheesemaking process. As their name suggests, they comprise a blend (often proprietory to the cheesemaker) of cultures and bacteria that, in conjunction with time and temperature considerations, determine the variety of cheese to be made.
Tomorrow sees the opening of America’s newest venture in urban cheesemaking.
Named after the nearby famed Allen-Bradley clock tower,
Clock Shadow Creamery is located in the historic Walker’s Point area of Milwaukee and is the vision of cheesemaker Bob Wills.
Bob, who also owns and operates the progressive
It took us quite a while, but finally we were approaching the end of the wedges we received in the mail weeks ago. After the taste test was over we still had quite a bit left – we’ve been adding it to omelets, topping baked potatoes with it, and making some pretty tasty grilled cheese sandwiches. Recently, I came across a recipe for cheese soufflés. I admit I’ve never made a savory soufflé before, only dessert ones. The recipe made 2 individual-sized servings, perfect for us. After grating all our remaining Jasper Hill cheese I had exactly what the recipe called for, to the gram! I took that as a good omen.
A couple years ago while attending an ACS conference, I sat in on a tasting of a cheese called wildheuer. This cheese from Switzerland was from the milk of cows that were fed wild mountain hay of the Swiss alps. More interesting is the story of the men who cut the wild grass and transport it from the top of the steepest mountains to the base, store it for the cold winters, and feed the animals with it. Wildheuer (or wild haymakers) are now a dying breed but there are still those who carry out the old methods and traditions. Below is a short video (in Swiss with no subtitles, I'm afraid) depicting the life of a young wildheuer, his family and the breathtaking land and work.
How would you describe the flavor of cheese?
It's an impossible question. You can certainly elaborate on the tastes of cheese varieties, the sharpness of a blue vein, spicy kick of jalapeno, or flavor of an ale wash. But trying to define the basic taste of cheese itself is impossible, no easier than trying to tell you what red looks like.
Cheese's' avoidance of being captured by words or trapped by sentences can make writing about cheese difficult, but I'm viewing that as a challenge as I began writing and blogging here at Culture. As a budding writer and foodie, I hope to learn how to better capture food through language, and learn more about what makes cheese such a unique, undefinable treat.
I hope that you will join me.
Well hi there. My name is Emily and I'm a soon-to-be senior (eek!) at Emerson College. I'm starting as an editorial intern here, and I couldn't be more excited.
Since one of my favorite foods is cheese, I feel pretty lucky to have landed this internship. Being a self-declared foodie, my dream job is to be a food writer for magazines, which is supremely original of me. But we won't get into that.
Thus, I enter the world of Culture Magazine, full of cheese, some cheese, and a little bit of cheese. My specialty knowledge in the subject is somewhat scarce.
I'm betting that will change by the end of the summer.
My aunt once told me that finding a property you want to buy is like falling in love: you'll just know when it's "the one." Lately I've been unabashedly falling in and out of love due to the game that is property purchasing negotiation.
There was this one farm, south of Worcester, that turned out to be untrustworthy. Maybe because it was my first, it appeared to me, on the surface, pretty great. It boasted seventy some-odd acres, many of which in pasture. It drew me in with its several outbuildings, large and enticing me to imagine a herd of one hundred goats and a spacious, light-filled cheesemake. We had a home inspector come in to evaluate the decency of this particular potential purchase. A wonder it would be to have boyfriend inspectors...
In case you had any doubts about the colonizing reach of American food culture, rest assured that it’s alive and well. Food trucks, those nomadic quasi-restaurants that have roamed streets from Manhattan to West LA in recent years, have now arrived in Paris. A front-page article in the New York Times yesterday documented the newfound popularity of food trucks in the City of Light, which are run primarily by American chefs and serve primarily American food. As Julia Moskin wrote, “Among young Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than ‘très Brooklyn,’ a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.”
Wondering why northern Italy got hit twice in short order with earthquakes? I asked Jeffrey Park, coauthor of Dynamic Earth (Read it. It's about the earth you live on. The one we return to, call mother, mine, fight over, and, sadly, the one that puts the terror in terroir). He's a Yale seismologist who works on the seismology of northern Italy. Here’s what he had to say. A warning, there’s strong earth science language in this report, a suggestion that plates are getting stuffed in the mantle, plus a reference to a quake in the 1500s. Reader access to a geological dictionary is advised. ~ Steph
The earthquakes both hit very close to Bologna, where I spent a year's sabbatical while collecting seismic data. I once spent a night in Carpi, where the cathedral roof fell in.