Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Essentials

Due to a combination of a recent Bon Appetit article and a No Reservations special "Obsessions Episode," I have an renewed intense interest in bread and cheese lately.

When I lived in Honduras, I made bread from scratch... as kinds of experimental starchy baked goods actually: tortillas, crepes, loaves of wheat bread. I was bored and lonely. Why not fill the void with something to fill the stomach? I was needing to do some kneading! I say this to suggest that the bread-baking goes way back, before my time in Honduras and naturally before me at all, and I want to say that there certainly is something very elemental, deeply symbolic, very traditional, and most comfortable about bread.

Now regarding cheese, I certainly don't need to explain the appeal. I saw a PBS special a few years ago that was hosted by Gourmet's (R.I.P.) old editor Ruth Riechl. I remember one topic in particular about the woman who makes cheese for The French Laundry, and it touched on the relationship she had with her goats and cows and how their diet and mood determined much of the resulting cheese. It was a beautiful documentary about the artistry and process and maturation of these cheeses. I became quite, uh, romantic about the idea of making cheese. And isn't there something even more elemental and universal about the milk that goes into the cheese? I think so. But we watched Tony talking to Terrance Brennan about his obsession with cheese, and it got me thinking about cheese again. Plus, The Dinner Files mentioned a book recommendation, and I started looking at other cheese books.

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge

The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table

Living with Goats: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Backyard Herd

Mastering Cheese: Lessons on Connoisseurship from a Maitre Fromager


High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Wow amazing that you use to make your own bread! Craziness the only bread I can make is banana bread.

You must share some recipes!

Jennifer said...

Cheese, schmeeze--I would LOVE it if you had a goat in your back yard! I just love their sweet little faces!