MIT Scholar's Definitive Work on Artisan Cheesemaking
In her latest work, MIT Anthropologist Heather Paxson has turned her ethnographer's eye toward the subculture of American Artisan Cheesemaking. The book, titled "The Life of Cheese," delves into the sociopolitics of cheesemaking and shows how it's about more than just cheese; it's about a lifestyle of craftsmanship, preserving land and traditions, learning and creating.
Crafting high-quality artisanal cheese is not complicated, but it’s also not easy. Basically, heat a lot of milk, add bacterial cultures and enzymes to thicken it into a curd, drain it, salt it, and let it ferment and age. Of course, to make cheese like this, you must first buy fresh milk or own a farm and stock it with cows or sheep or goats plus equipment, and spend endless strenuous hours carrying around heavy pails and obsessively cleaning equipment to make sure it’s sanitary. Do this day after day, until you have enough cheese to distribute, market and sell in a crowded marketplace. Then repeat the whole process.
Photo by Jose Picayo