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 to make myself known among the rich and thereby somehow find myself finally and firmly ensconced 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, gallery openings, galas and such and at such events and gatherings long tables are often elegantly arrayed with a battery of trays on which one finds cheese. Today, therefore, we will examine 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 to unappetizing words and phrases such as coagulating enzymes, intestines and clots. But one soldiered on because, although preparing oneself for entry into a life of luxury and gentility has its distasteful aspects at times, the goal of becoming rich and important is a noble 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 from one’s childhood Little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey. She was eating the semisolid milk product that is produced when milk coagulates and a watery liquid. It is the semisolid stuff from which cheese is produced. Curds are the things (the semisolid stuff—see previous sentence) of which most cheeses are made, as far as I can tell. But according to one source I read (and it could well be that sources that I didn’t read say the same) the manufacture of mozzarella entails the dipping of curds into hot whey. I am not sure 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 and watery stuff and dealing with multiple, discrete batches of it would require lots of washing up afterwards. Mozzarella is definitely a cheese, at any rate. Sometimes Mozzarella 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 whey and don't appear to like to waste whey. Some kinds of ricotta are made from whey that was used in the making of mozzarella and provolone, the latter of which (as I mentioned earlier 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 from milk and whey comes from milk. But there is a huge variety of cheese types and we have to 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’s milk 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 country with 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 Europeans who 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 Union as far as cheese goes, which might be another reason that the US produces so much more cheese than many other countries. Cheese, by the way, being made primarily of milk has pretty much the same nutritional content 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 that cheese can be made of cream, which may be a byproduct of milk as is whey, and yet another 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 at this point. The key thing to remember about cheese is that there are four main types. They are as follows: soft, semi-hard, hard and very hard. I shall now proceed to provide examples of cheeses that fall into each category and to discuss those. That is to say, the categories (although they’re really self explanatory) and the 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 cream cheese to bread often leaves said bread in shreds, which is a nuisance. Brie is very much valued by the snooty and so should be special interest to you who hope to be snooty someday. 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 always thought that cheddar was one thing and American another. I know that one of them is an orange rectangular blob on cheeseburgers that, for my foreign readers, are not burgers made 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 though cheeseburgers 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 onto spaghetti. I am not sure whether very hard cheese is called very firm.

These categories are immutable except, apparently, in the case of Edam cheese which can be semi-soft or semi-hard depending on how old it is and which is, one source said, often in the shape of an elongated sphere--known to most people as an oval, spheres being well, sphere-like that is to say, spherical. You know, round. But maybe they do things differently in Holland, which is where a good deal of Edam is produced, as is the case with Gouda which is semi-soft to hard and not just semi-hard as is the case with Edam. According to my sources, a defect in a cheese is something that would render it less than desirable. Cheese can be sliced and grated and shredded all of which is easiest to do when cold. The cheese. I don’t think it matters what state you are in. I mean, when dealing with cheese. Cottage cheese will last about a week, unless your mother is around in which case it lasts a lot less long. Gorgonzola is a kind of blue cheese, as are Stilton and blue cheese. Presumably Gorgonzola and Stilton are semi-hard cheeses given that blue cheese is a semi-hard cheese as is Monterey Jack, which is not a blue cheese but an American one, like the confusing cheddar and American. There are also cheeses such as American Camembert, American Muenster and American Romano, which are not American cheeses, whereas American cheese is. The appearance of cheese is something that is determined visually and by various factors and some cheeses contain holes which I don’t quite get not seeing how you can contain something that isn’t quite there or there at all, really--Swiss Cheese being the most notable example of a cheese with holes in it. Feta also has holes, according to my sources and might even if they didn’t say so. I will have to look more carefully at it the next time I decline any.