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The basics of cheese

The basics of cheese

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Published by hopeyj
Comic essay on cheese.
Comic essay on cheese.

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Published by: hopeyj on Mar 29, 2007
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01/01/2013

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Given that a consuming goal of many of us is the acquisition of wealth and status, I have been looking into the activities of the rich so that I may participate in such things so as tomake myself known among the rich and thereby somehow find myself finally and firmlyensconced in their ranks. I have found that cheese seems to be closely associated with the possession of wealth and influence. Wealthy, powerful people attend soirées, galleryopenings, galas and such and at such events and gatherings long tables are often elegantlyarrayed with a battery of trays on which one finds cheese. Today, therefore, we willexamine the topic of cheese.I decided to commence learning about cheese by reading about its process of manufacture. While a good one, this plan did entail the exposure of oneself as one read tounappetizing words and phrases such as coagulating enzymes, intestines and clots. Butone soldiered on because, although preparing oneself for entry into a life of luxury andgentility has its distasteful aspects at times, the goal of becoming rich and important is anoble one, as every Western society needs an economic elite that buys cheese.There are words that pop up with great frequency in the scholarly literature on the process of manufacturing cheese. One is curd. The other is whey. One may recall fromone’s childhood Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey. She was eating thesemisolid milk product that is produced when milk coagulates and a watery liquid. It isthe semisolid stuff from which cheese is produced. Curds are the things (the semisolidstuff—see previous sentence) of which most cheeses are made, as far as I can tell. Butaccording to one source I read (and it could well be that sources that I didn’t read say thesame) the manufacture of mozzarella entails the dipping of curds into hot whey. I am notsure if that whey is the same whey that was produced at the same time that that particular  batch of curds was. Probably, as it must be a bother to deal with all that semisolid andwatery stuff and dealing with multiple, discrete batches of it would require lots of washing up afterwards. Mozzarella is definitely a cheese, at any rate. SometimesMozzarella is packaged in whey and what whey that is, I can’t say. One is confident,though, that there are strict regulations on such matters.The Italians must be a very thrifty people given that they find all kinds of uses for wheyand don't appear to like to waste whey. Some kinds of ricotta are made from whey thatwas used in the making of mozzarella and provolone, the latter of which (as I mentionedearlier about mozzarella) is cheese. One source maintained that forms of ricotta made of whey are not cheeses per se at all as whey is a product of cheese and is not milk itself from which, incidentally, that which is recognized as cheese good and proper is made.But given that whey comes from milk, I am not sure that I buy into this distinction,especially since the ricottas that these same authorities accept as cheese are made frommilk and whey comes from milk. But there is a huge variety of cheese types and we haveto move along.A brief word about milk before we launch into our examination of the main types of cheese. Cheese comes from the milk of mammals, which is lucky thing as only mammals produce milk. I shan't discuss most mammals here except to say that most of the world’smilk appears to come from cows. That is to say, cows produce most of the world’s milk.
 
The United States produces much of the world’s cheese probably we are a big countrywith plenty of room for cows to mosey around in although popular kinds of cheese are produced from goats and sheep and we have many of those too though it is the Europeanswho seem to excel at producing cheese from the milk of sheep and goats and eat the stuff too. They spend a lot of time arguing about the regulatory regime of the European Unionas far as cheese goes, which might be another reason that the US produces so much morecheese than many other countries.Cheese, by the way, being made primarily of milk has pretty much the same nutritionalcontent of the milk from which it is made. Thus, cottage cheese made from skim milk contains very little fat whereas cottage cheese made from some other kind of milk might be loaded to the max with fat. This bit of info is probably applicable to all other sorts of cheeses no matter what they are made of which, incidentally, is always milk.Oop. I have been looking over my notes and see that one of my sources tells me thatcheese can be made of cream, which may be a byproduct of milk as is whey, and yetanother refers to whey cream and maybe cream is simply a constituent of milk and not a byproduct of it. Cream cheese is made from milk and cream, so I am really confused atthis point.The key thing to remember about cheese is that there are four main types. They are asfollows: soft, semi-hard, hard and very hard.I shall now proceed to provide examples of cheeses that fall into each category and todiscuss those. That is to say, the categories (although they’re really self explanatory) andthe cheeses. I shan't deal with ricotta further in this essay, having already devoted far more space to it than it really merits given its relatively minor role in the cheese world.Soft cheese – Brie and cream cheese are soft cheeses though the application of creamcheese to bread often leaves said bread in shreds, which is a nuisance. Brie is very muchvalued by the snooty and so should be special interest to you who hope to be snootysomeday. And rich.Semi-hard cheeses – Blue is an example of such cheeses and contains a lot of mold,which is considered splendid. That is the French for you.Hard cheese – Cheddar is a hard cheese and is a type of American cheese. I alwaysthought that cheddar was one thing and American another. I know that one of them is anorange rectangular blob on cheeseburgers that, for my foreign readers, are not burgersmade of cheese but beef or some consumer fraud of a substitute with a rectangular slab of some sort of cheese on it. That is how most Americans get their cheese, even thoughcheeseburgers cost more than regular burgers. Hard cheese is also called firm.Very hard cheese – Parmesan is a very hard cheese except in that little green container that most of us actually buy and from which one can shake lots of so-called cheese ontospaghetti. I am not sure whether very hard cheese is called very firm.

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