Friday, December 28, 2007

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

From my Alma Mater, dear old Cornell University.

The Cornell Daily Sun

Blessed are the Cheesemakers

By Behzad Varamini

Created Oct 29 2007

Growing up in Wisconsin, cheese is not a choice, it’s a lifestyle. Dairy is not a decision, it’s a religion. Milk is not a maybe, it’s mandatory.

California, I love you guys. You have beaches, Hollywood, great food and The Price is Right. But please, once and for all, fully accept that Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland. We have nothing else. Or, maybe take America’s Dairyland, but give us The Price is Right. And Arnold.

Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland. Though there may be more cows in California, one has to be really smart and scientific and realize that Wisconsin has a much higher cow:person ratio. That’s how I got into Cornell — less because of Wisconsin’s cow:person ratio, more because I am really smart and scientific.

Plus, California is warm, diverse and trendy, so it’s easy to be from California. Wisconsin is cold, homogeneous and flannel. Even harder is leaving Wisconsin, because when you do, really weird things start happening.

I began to quickly notice some eerie changes when I moved to Pennsylvania with my family a few years ago.

First, my own body. Though the milk in Pennsylvania didn’t taste much different, my body began to reject it with violent ferocity. Cheese and ice cream induced the same symptoms. I became lactose intolerant, something I thought only happened to Asians. I even started liking bubble tea and Korean dramas.

Next, the persecution. First, the stares: it was hard to go anywhere without people glaring at my cheesehead. Then, the questions: “Why are you wearing that foam hat in the shape of a giant cheese wedge on your head?” “Sir, you know you’ll have to take that off for airport security?”

And finally, the misunderstandings. For weeks I searched grocery stores, restaurants and bars for cheese curds so I could relive my past. No one understood me. It’s like I was speaking another language.

What are cheese curds? Heaven in your mouth. Cheese curds are fresh, young cheddar cheese in its natural, random shape before being processed into blocks and aged into store-bought cheese. They have a very small window of eatability and are rarely heard of outside of Wisconsin. They are served alone, with dipping sauce or deep fried. When you bite into one, they make a characteristic “squeak” sound; yes, squeaky-cheese! I know you want some.

Oh, how I long for the days of lactose tolerance, cheesehead freedom and squeaky deep-fried cheese. Unfortunately, to this day, the persecution against cheese-enthusiasts is still rampant.

Take, for instance, a Southern California couple who are facing criminal charges for allegedly trying to sell homemade cheese in an open-air market. 375 pounds of unlicensed cheeses were seized and the couple was arrested on felony cheese-making charges.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture claims that homemade cheese is a serious threat to public health.

What the California Department of Food and Agriculture really means is that homemade cheese is a serious threat to the California cheesemaking industry because it tastes so good! I say give this couple a one-way ticket to Wisconsin — save them from California, where non-discerning taste buds can hardly tell apart Gorgonzola cheese from Brie Manoir.

These folks were simply trying to stand up for their inalienable right to fresh homemade cheese, unprocessed and unaged, soft, and squeaky.

And that’s what people don’t understand. Us cheeseheads, we’re just like you. We want to live comfortable lives. We want our kids to go to the best schools. We put our pants on one leg at a time, over our long underwear.

We’re just a little misunderstood. So grab an udder. Hug a cow. Tell a cheesy joke. Tolerate lactose. And pass the cheese. Just try not to cut it, at least not in public.

Behzad Varamini is a graduate student in Nutritional Sciences. He can be contacted at Gain Through Loss appears alternate Tuesdays.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Songs of Joy!

It is no secret that we are big cheese nerds - but cheese songs? Oh yes!!
Have a giggle and sing along to this Parmigiano Reggiano video and song:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Save the South Village!

’s Cheese is located in heart of Greenwich Village and part of a unique historic neighborhood – the South Village.

In an effort to preserve the character of one of New York’s most flavorful cultural and architectural areas, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation actively campaigns to receive landmark protection for the South Village.

Read the first installment of the GVSHP's "The South Village: Where History Lives" below and find out how to join Murray’s on the list of supporters!

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
South Village

landmark designation campaign.

Jones' street 19th century lofts, tenements , and houses look nearly the same today as they did in February 1963, when his now-iconic photograph Bob Dylan was taken for the cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," the epoch-making album featuring "Blowin' in the Wind." At the time, Dylan lived around the corner at 161 West 4th Street, later moving to 94 MacDougal Street (also in the South Village.)

From his earliest days in new York to long after his rise to fame, Dylan performed at South Village venues such as Gerde's Folk City (130 West 3rd Street), Cafe Wha? (115 MacDougal Street), The Bitter End (149 Bleecker Street), The Village Gate (160 Bleecker Street), Izzy Young's Folklore Center (110 MacDougal Street), and the Gaslight Cafe (114 MacDougal Street). The South Village is renowned as the center of the world-wide Folk musical revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The South Village is one of New York's and the nation’s most
historic neighborhoods.

But due to a lack of landmark protections, its buildings can be demolished and its history can be erased at any time.

To help, CLICK HERE for letters you can send to the City calling for landmark designation of the South Village.

To find out more about the effort to preserve the South Village, CLICK HERE.

Join GVSHP or support our preservation effortsCLICK HERE

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Artisan Holidays!

Jasper Hill Farm Co-Owner and Cheesemaker Mateo Kehler wrote in a recent eblast:

Dear Friend of Jasper Hill Farm:

Hi there!

As many of you might have heard Jasper Hill is in the midst of a big
expansion. We are in the process of building a series of subterranean
vaulted cellars to ripen cheese for cheesemakers around the state.
Jasper Hill Farm will become one supplier of many to the Cellars at
Jasper Hill. It is a piece of infrastructure designed and intended to
lower the barriers to entry for new cheesemakers and to deliver
efficiencies and a bundle of services to existing cheesemakers. We are
betting the farm that you will soon be seeing a lot more great cheese
from Vermont.

We are currently working with 10 Vermont cheesemakers, who ship us
their cheese young to age in our cellars. We will soon have capacity
for the production of over 50 cheesemakers. Our goal is to double the
production of farmstead and artisan cheese being produced in Vermont in
order to shift dairy farming away from commodity fluid milk production
to value added on farm processing. This will help protect the working
landscape we love so much by ensuring that small scale family dairy
farming remains economically viable. Sustainability is rooted in
economics and we are hoping to help with the shift. Our friends at
Murray's Cheese, a New York institution, have created a Jasper Hill
Collection that will change with the seasons depending on what is ripe
and ready at the time. The collection will include a range of styles
and milk types and will reflect the best cheeses we have in our cellars
at any given time. Producers we are working with now include Jasper
Hill Farm (of course), Bonneview Farm, our award-winning Cabot
Cloth-bound Cheddar, Grafton Village Cheese Co., Twig Farm, Dancing Cow
Farmstead, Crawford Family Farm, Crowley Cheese Co., Lazy Lady Farm and
a few other small scale local artisan cheesemakers. The Jasper Hill
Collection ships in a handsome handmade wooden box made for Murray's by
Richard Jewett right down the road from the farm.

Cheese makes a fantastic gift and our friends at Murray's Cheese in New
York City
make it easy to give...

Best wishes for a happy holiday season!

Thanks for the support.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tricks of the Trade

How do you create the perfect cheese plate? Weekend TODAY sent Bravo's Ted Allen to Murray's to find out.

Click on the link below for a cheesy lesson:

Tricks of the trade: Cheese