Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cheese 1 - Of All Things Cheese (Yummmm!!!)


Today begins the saga, replete with sex, violence, lust for power, and... whey!

The story of all things cheese.

For you the uninitiated, imbecilic, or resident from a land without livestock who has recently gained access to the cyberworld of cheese, I bring you firstly, a definition of this most noble food:

Cheese is a food made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep and other mammals, by coagulating the milk. This is accomplished by first acidifying it with a bacterial cultureenzyme and then employing the rennet (or rennet substitutes) to coagulate the milk to "curds and whey."[1] The precise bacteria and processing of the curds play a role in defining the texture and flavor of most cheeses. Some cheeses also feature molds, either on the outer rind or throughout. (wikipedia).
Ah, that's as maybe, you say, but is cheese the inspiration for great literature in the manner of other foodstuffs such as
the Goose, as in the poem, "To A Goose", or dogs as in the poem "The Dog's Cold Nose" by Arthur Guiterman (presumesbly served in the summer in the style of a ceviche)?

Indeed it is, to wit the great Canadian "Chaucer of Cheese", James McIntyre, the auteur of the great :

"Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7000 Pounds":

1We have seen the Queen of cheese,
2Laying quietly at your ease,
3Gently fanned by evening breeze --
4Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

5All gaily dressed soon you'll go
6To the great Provincial Show,
7To be admired by many a beau
8In the city of Toronto.

9Cows numerous as a swarm of bees --
10Or as the leaves upon the trees --
11It did require to make thee please,
12And stand unrivalled Queen of Cheese.

13May you not receive a scar as
14We have heard that Mr. Harris
15Intends to send you off as far as
16The great World's show at Paris.

17Of the youth -- beware of these --
18For some of them might rudely squeeze
19And bite your cheek; then songs or glees
20We could not sing o' Queen of Cheese.

21We'rt thou suspended from balloon,
22You'd caste a shade, even at noon;
23Folks would think it was the moon
24About to fall and crush them soon.


1] The cheese was made by James Harris at the Ingersoll factory (99).

6] the great Provincial Show: the Toronto Industrial Exposition, founded in 1878, and lit by electricity in 1882, where 22 of 23 buildings focused on agriculture (The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2nd edn. [Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988]: 345).

16] The great World's show at Paris: in 1889 the Effel Tower was built for this exhibition, established in 1851 in London.
And so ends this installment with wishes that you may soon enjoy, with your glass of Sancerre a fine wheel of Olivet au Foin.

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