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The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table Paperback – August 11, 2009
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“[Thorpe] zips engagingly from tasting notes and the best makers to the aging process. Through Thorpe’s eyes, readers will truly behold the power of cheese.” (Town & Country)
“[The Cheese Chronicles]’s overall scope, humor, and affection will both entertain and educate its audience. Recommended for foodies, especially those with a passion for cheese.” (Library Journal)
“Liz’s knowledge of cheese has been invaluable to us at The French Laundry and Per Se. Whether working with our chefs or teaching classes to our staff, her passion is contagious and has helped us to elevate our cheese program through the years. (Thomas Keller, Chef, The French Laundry and Per Se)
“The Cheese Chronicles does more than just introduce us to America’s rediscovered culinary frontier--it offers everyone from novice to affineur an informative and unconventional context for what can only be described as a revolution in cheese.” (Dan Barber, Executive Chef and co-owner, Blue Hill at Stone Barns)
About the Author
A Yale graduate, Liz Thorpe left a "normal" job in 2002 to work the counter at New York's famed Murray's Cheese. She managed and expanded their wholesale business, designed cheese menus for the country's best restaurants, coauthored The Murray's Cheese Handbook, and followed her passion for cheese. She is now the vice president of Murray's, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is exactly what is says it is. If you are a cheese connoisseur looking for more information on great American cheeses, (note: when I say “American cheese,” I mean cheese made in America, not the toxic yellow squares your mom put on your grade school sandwich with baloney) then this is the book for you. However, if you are like me and consider a wedge of brie from your local grocery to be high living, you are more in need of a cheese primer. That’s not to say there isn’t some interesting information to be gleaned for the cheese novice. Liz Thorpe takes us into to the cheese making process and gives a brief history of cheese in America. The book is well written, engaging and informative. It just wasn’t my speed.
The many vignettes and Thorpe’s personal ‘cheese notes’ are dispersed throughout the text. For instance, Thorpe meets a 40-something cheese-maker from Dallas, TX who was kicked out of the Junior League because she faltered on her volunteering duties. (Personally, I think this chic had her priorities in order, and shame on the Dallas’ Jr. League for not realizing she could have brought those delicious cheeses to the meetings!! Foolish ladies.) Thorpe’s anthology is a testament that many large-scale manufacturers who really do care about the consumers’ taste buds, and not all factory produced cheeses are necessarily inferior products. So, cheese snobs, put your noses down and open your minds (and taste buds) to some of these delicious varieties.
If ever there was a book about cheese porn, Liz Thorpe has written it. Her vivid descriptions paint a vivid picture of the American landscape in which lovely, unpredictable cheeses are created. Using descriptors like splotchy,stinky, drippy, sexy,masculine, dark, globby, she reminds us that food today is so gluey, so over-processed that we often can't taste the terroir, 'the soul of the place,' the connection to the land. Our country definitely has reached a conundrum in which rubbery, tasteless blocks of cheese have become our norm. But, as illustrated by Thorpe, cheese does not have to be a predictable, processed blob. There is hope for the future of food, and Thorpe has the stories to prove it.
If Thorpe ever needs a travel companion on her next National Cheese Tour (or any cheese tour, for that matter), I am her girl. Her love of cheese, wine, and more cheese have helped me realize that no one, myself included, should ever settle for mediocre cheese.
Cheese and wine can be so stodgy in conversation, and in writing; I found this book an immensely pleasurable read.
Of course, just because someone loves something doesn't make it worth reading, but the personalized intimate stories of the cheese makers and farmers is the difference maker.
Anyone who reads Jonathan Gold, the preeminent food critic, will appreciate her writing...Gold is the Gold Standard and she is in that or close to that level of writing.
Who knew mold could be so interesting?