Greetings Culture blog readers! My name is Molly and I live in Virginia, where I am building a small dairy and creamery which will hopefully be open and selling cheese by spring 2013. My Culture blog will focus on making cheese, miscellaneous food-centric thoughts, and the adventures I have on my way to becoming a licensed dairy! So, without further ado, a few thoughts on mold:
Did you know that the same group of molds that brought us Penicillin is also responsible for the flavors that make Brie, Camembert, and Roquefort so delicious? Did you also know that some other members of the genus produce toxins?
Fungi collectively form a HUGE group of organisms- about 100,000 species strong (just for contrast, there are a little over 5,700 mammal species)- some delicious and some deadly. While most molds are too inconspicuous to even be on our radar, three species of the genus Penicillium have played important roles in human history.
Last Friday afternoon my wife and I drove into Cambridge, Massachusetts to pick up dinner. On the menu: cheese, a crusty bread, and any other specialty foods that caught our eye. We luckily found parking right outside of our destination—Formaggio Kitchen.
Although we aimed to get there a little earlier, my scattered brain and rush hour traffic put us at shopping an hour before closing time. It was fairly busy, and with everyone milling about in their coats it was a little cramped at times. Nevertheless, the staff remained enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuinely excited to see customers. They offered us samples of cheese, salami and wine, ready to answer any question.
25 December 2010
So, it’s 9:45 on Christmas night, and I can honestly say that I am fed up with eating, at last. Seriously. Camembert, Smoked Gouda, Iberico, Manchego, Quince Paste, crudite, crackers, sourdough rolls, ginger and walnut loaf, Menage a Trois, ham, turkey, cabbage salad, herb salad, tart cranberries, farfalla primavera… and then the desserts. Four cakes, a gingerbread loaf, homemade fudge, snowballs, shortbread, a molasses cookie with cracked black pepper in it, oatmeal cookies, white chocolate covered pretzels… My mom went all-out for days and is now nestled in her bed with the beginning of a winter flu, the poor love. As I am writing this, the last stirring creature, my Dad, has just crept by, fingers gesturing “goodnight,” after having wrapped white bundt cake with peppermint drizzle and cinnamon coffee cakes in plastic to the stylings of the Vince Guaraldi Trio on repeat.
Ask anyone who will admit to knowing me: I'm an enthusiastic omnivore. But I'm also an enthusiastic host, with a lot of vegetarians on my roster. This has necessitated some off-the-cuff veggie cooking in the past, especially around ThanksG., when I'm apt to drag various castaways over to my folks' place for dinner. Mom and Dad seem to enjoy the company, but it falls to me to feed the meatless masses.
This has proven to be pretty easy, actually; the holiday is a good excuse to go over the top with rich and savory flavors, especially if you're looking for a main dish to replace turkey*. Pies work really well for this purpose.