Welcome to The Blogosphere Home of The Cheese Snob. If you would like to know more about who I am and what I do, I recommend you check out my Website, www.cheesesnob.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion

Hi Cheese Pals,

I haven't forgotten about you and the cheese. I've been heavily involved in a major volunteer project, and work. I work with cheese, so it's okay.


Kenny G posted an entry about my cheese party on the WFMU "Beware of the Blog." Please follow the link and check it out. And make sure you listen to Kenny's show, Intelligent Design. And make sure you listen to the archive of my cheese party show!

I might not have too much time to post until next week, so don't be sad. Eat more cheese and read Steve Jenkins' book "The Cheese Primer" between now and next Wednesday. It'll prepare you for what's to come.

And a BIG thank you to Monica, Alex, and Ben for commenting. I will address your comments soon.

Yours In Cheese,

p.s. - If you click on the title of this entry, it will take you to the WFMU blog entry. If you click on the title "Cheese + WFMU + Me = Fun" or whatever it is I wrote, it'll take you right to the archive for the show. I just figured this out, so I thought you might not know.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Cheese + WFMU = Fun

On Wednesday, I not only kicked off summer, but I kicked off my new venture as proprietor of Caseophile Creative Services, by making a special appearance on Kenny G's show "Intelligent Design" on The Freeform Station of the Nation, WFMU. Kenny's show is 3 hours, and I was on during the last hour. Listen to the whole thing, though. There's good stuff in there.

Kenny is an enthusiastic caseophile himself, and he hosted the show while many members of the WFMU staff (and friends) stopped by for what is probably the first cheese party to ever happen on the radio.

(If it's the "first" of something, especially the first of something cheese-related, I want to break it in, so I owe a BIG "thank you" to Kenny for inviting me to be on his show.)

Station Manager Ken Freedman provided engineering services, and a few people even called in with questions.

For some reason, lots of people wanted to know if cheese can be made from human milk, and the milk of all sorts of animals whose milk is not normally used in cheesemaking. The answer is simple: if it's a mammal, you can milk it. If you can milk it, you can make cheese. Of course some animals' milks are better suited to certain types of cheesemaking, depending on the quality of the protein, fat, etc., but it's certainly possible to make cheese from any milk.

Someone asked, "What about snakes?" and I think it was Station Manager Ken who reminded us that milking snakes involves drawing the venom from the snakes' fangs. I added that this would not only not make cheese, but not make good cheese, as it's essentially poison.

I had a great time. I love being on the radio (I used to be on radio free brattleboro a long time ago), and I think this might be the first time I mixed radio with cheese. Oh wait, that's not true. Once, on my old show, "Phrenology Today," a listener called in and said she liked to eat Cambozola with potato chips. Makes sense when you think about it.

Anyway, please follow the link to Kenny's archive of the show, and while you listen, you can play along at home by going out and getting the following cheeses and eating them in this exact order. I brought 9 cheeses, and I tried to bring a good sampling of different varieties, not just representing different animals and countries, but different categories, such as Ossau-Iraty, Alpine, thistle-renneted, etc. The order was a little tricky, especially with that many cheeses, but here they are, in order of appearance:
Capra Valtellina
Monte Enebro
Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Comte 18-Month
Izarou, Ossau-Iraty
La Serena (The Spanish one, not the California one)
Abbaye de Belval
Bleu du Bocage

Pretty soon, Kenny is going to post a story about our cheese party on WFMU's "Beware of the Blog." So when that happens, I'll post the link. Then you'll get the descriptions of all of the cheeses, too, so you can listen, eat, and read along. I told you I'm a full-service Caseophile.

Thanks again, Kenny G!

Yours in Cheese,

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Introduction Is Always Good

After a great deal of prodding by supportive friends and colleagues, I am finally starting my own Cheese Blog.

I've seen some food blogs out there. Some are interesting and funny; however, I haven't seen any written by actual food professionals. Is it because we're all too busy to sit down and write? Pshaw! I'm a writer. If I can't sit down and write a cheese blog, there's something wrong.

So here's my story:
September 1995, Brattleboro, Vermont. I'm about to go back to school after my summer break. (For those of you keeping score at home, I graduated from Marlboro College.) I need a job. All summer, I'd been working in the produce department at The Brattleboro Food Co-Op. There weren't enough hours for me there, so I asked my manager what I should do. Her answer: "I hear Henry needs some help in the cheese department." So, I go to Henry and say: "Hi Henry, I hear you need some help in the cheese department. I need some hours. I know nothing about cheese other than I like to eat it." Henry's response: "Well, My Dear, there's no better place to start."

From then on, I was hooked. See, I'm a nerd. And all nerds need something about which to be nerdily obsessed. I didn't like computers back then (I didn't even really know what they were), Science Fiction burned my fingers, there weren't enough record stores in town to satiate that lust, and my math skills are excellent up until Algebra. Oh, and I am not really into Star Trek. What's a nerd to do? I found cheese.

A few months after I began working in the cheese department, I was, uh... in bed with a boy I was... uh, "seeing." (I'm trying to keep this clean, okay?) After we were... uh, I mean, when we were just, um, lying there, I started talking to him about all the exciting new cheeses I had discovered. Yes. In bed with a hot boy, talking about cheese. That's me. He was very nice about the whole thing. I think he liked it.


Since September 1995, I've tried working at other, non-cheese-related jobs. It never worked. I always had to at least put a few hours per diem in the cheese department, like when someone was sick or on vacation. Eventually I'd give up the non-cheese job completely, and return to my Casa de Queso, my home in the cheese department. For some time, I even ran my own cheese department in another store, and that took some hard work, because when I took it over, it was a whole lotta nuthin'. But I poked and prodded, and when I left, the department had the second highest sales of all departments in the store, second only to the wine department. (And this was Vermont - what else were people doing other than boozing it up? haha.)

And it was at that job that I discovered how much fun it is to write about cheese. I had no full-service case (it was a small-ish store), and I was bringing in a lot of new cheeses, so I needed to find a way to tell everyone what they were all about. I had a good relationship with a salesman at one of our distributors, and he was a caseophile, too. He would give me lots of information about the cheeses, and what he couldn't tell me, I looked up in Steve Jenkins' book, "The Cheese Primer." Using this information, as well as what I already knew, I wrote a weekly (or so) Cheese Bulletin. I listed new cheeses, including information and uses. I also brought up one cheese-related topic every week, such as raw vs. pasteurized, different categories of cheese, etc. I put them in a stack in front of the cheese case, and the store's cashiers put them in people's shopping bags. The staff read them, too. And people enjoyed them, asked when the next one was coming out, and voila, my sales went way up. It was a fun time.

There's more to the story, but "make them wait, make them come back for more" is not only a good philosophy for aging cheese, but a good philosophy for life.

Next time I'll tell you about Henry. I mentioned him earlier in this post, so if you are thinking "Henry who?" then you haven't read carefully enough. Go back and re-read this post so next time you are prepared.

Yours in Cheese,