The Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford Companions) by Catherine Donnelly, [pdf, top books]

The Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford Companions)

Winner of the 2017 James Beard Award for Reference & Scholarship

The discovery of cheese is a narrative at least 8,000 years old, dating back to the Neolithic era. Yet, after all of these thousands of years we are still finding new ways to combine the same four basic ingredients – milk, bacteria, salt, and enzymes – into new and exciting products with vastly different shapes, sizes, and colors, and equally complex and varied tastes, textures, and, yes, aromas. In fact, after a long period of industrialized, processed, and standardized cheese, cheesemakers, cheesemongers, affineurs, and most of all consumers are rediscovering the endless variety of cheeses across cultures.

The Oxford Companion to Cheese is the first major reference work dedicated to cheese, containing 855 A-Z entries on cheese history, culture, science, and production. From cottage cheese to Camembert, from Gorgonzola to Gruyère, there are entries on all of the major cheese varieties globally, but also many cheeses that are not well known outside of their region of production. The concentrated whey cheeses popular in Norway, brunost, are covered here, as are the traditional Turkish and Iranian cheeses that are ripened in casings prepared from sheep’s or goat’s skin. There are entries on animal species whose milk is commonly (cow, goat, sheep) and not so commonly (think yak, camel, and reindeer) used in cheesemaking, as well as entries on a few highly important breeds within each species, such as the Nubian goat or the Holstein cow. Regional entries on places with a strong history of cheese production, biographies of influential cheesemakers, innovative and influential cheese shops, and historical entries on topics like manorial cheesemaking and cheese in children’s literature round out the Companion’s eclectic cultural coverage.

The Companion also reflects a fascination with the microbiology and chemistry of cheese, featuring entries on bacteria, molds, yeasts, cultures, and coagulants used in cheesemaking and cheese maturing. The blooms, veins, sticky surfaces, gooey interiors, crystals, wrinkles, strings, and yes, for some, the odors of cheese are all due to microbial action and growth. And today we have unprecedented insight into the microbial complexity of cheese, thanks to advances in molecular biology, whole-genome sequencing technologies, and microbiome research. The Companion is equally interested in the applied elements of cheesemaking, with entries on production methodologies and the technology and equipment used in cheesemaking.

An astonishing 325 authors contributed entries to the Companion, residing in 35 countries. These experts included cheesemakers, cheesemongers, dairy scientists, anthropologists, food historians, journalists, archaeologists, and on, from backgrounds as diverse as the topics they write about. Every entry is signed by the author, and includes both cross references to related topics and further reading suggestions. The endmatter includes a list of cheese-related museums and a thorough index. Two 16-page color inserts and well over a hundred black and white images help bring the entries to life.

This landmark encyclopedia is the most wide-ranging, comprehensive, and reliable reference work on cheese available, suitable for both novices and industry insiders alike.

Review

“Finally, the go-to source for all things cheese in one single, sensational volume. Every cheesemonger in America will want this in their library.” –Rob Kaufelt, president of Murray’s Cheese “Discovering the kaleidoscope of flavor in well-made raw-milk cheese is like watching color television after years of black and white. But many examples of these wonderful cheeses are now under threat of extinction. The Companion explains where they come from, how they are made, and most importantly why cheese made the traditional way really matters.” –Will Studd, host and executive producer of Cheese Slices”The Companion is one of the most anticipated cheese books fo the new century. The depth of knowledge is overwhelming. Thank you for bringing this to the cheese community.” –Peggy Smith, co-founder of Cowgirl Creamery”This book will be one to remember for the cheese world, and it is so crucial to communicate our knowledge over time. I wish this encyclopedia much success, and hope that it will inspire!” –Hervé Mons, MonS Fromager-Affineur”[A] delightfully discursive volume.” –The Economist

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About the Author

Dr. Catherine Donnelly, Editor-in-Chief, is a Professor of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont. She is the co-director of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, America’s first and only comprehensive academic research center devoted to artisan cheese. She previously served as the Associate Director for the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship, a research consortium between Cornell and the University of Vermont. Dr. Donnelly has been recognized by her colleagues for her many contributions to improving Listeria detection. Widely regarded as an international expert on this bacterial pathogen, she has published numerous articles and book chapters and delivered hundreds of presentations on the topic of Listeria. Her current scholarly interests include investigating the microbiological safety of raw milk cheeses aged for 60 days. Dr. Donnelly is the Editor of the book Cheese and Microbes, and she is the Scientific Editor of the Food Microbiology and Safety Section of the Journal of Food Science.

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Comments:

This book is definitely encyclopedic in nature, not a narrative story of cheese. If you are looking for a narrative story this book will wholly disappoint. It is a book to sample, not to read from page one. In it you will find not only types of cheese and cheesemaking techniques, but also history, places, people, uses, cultural references, and more. Even things many would not consider cheese, such as Cheez Whiz and Velveeta. You can learn how Cheddar supplanted Cheshire cheese in popularity. How cow’s milk mozzarella was developed after the Nazis killed the water buffalo in Italy. (Was there nothing those brutes wouldn’t do?) And how water buffalo herds were later replaced, bringing back buffalo mozzarella. On facing pages you find Homer, and his references to cheese, and Hooke, and his microscopic studies of cheese. A few pages earlier there is medieval scholar (and composer) Hildegarde of Bingen comparing “human reproduction with cheesemaking”. (Not going into details here! You’ll have to buy the book.) Successive entries cover a Monty Python skit about cheese, the idea that the moon is made of cheese, and moose cheese. I not only didn’t know people made moose cheese, I didn’t know anyone milked moose! (If you’ve ever seen a moose up close it wouldn’t strike you as likely!) If you enjoy cheese, enjoy reading, and enjoy learning serendipitous facts, you will enjoy this book!

  • Title: The Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford Companions)
  • Autor: Catherine Donnelly
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 22, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • Download File Format: PDF, EPUB, MOBI, AZW3 (Kindle)

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