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Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge Paperback – January 21, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are picking up this book because you want a guide to cheese, or you want to read in-depth about small scale US producers, or because you want to know all about how cheese is made, then you will almost certainly be disappointed with this book. As Gordon states right up front, this book is a memoir. It is the story of how someone's life choices led him down an unusual and unexpected path, which has resulted in becoming enmeshed in a world that very few of us have any experience with. Along the way he discusses specific cheese, specific cheese producers, the debates about farming styles that are raging at present. But he also talks about neighborhoods and communities; about ethical practice in working, shopping, and eating; about becoming a master of a trade, and being initiated into is mysteries much as apprentices throughout the ages have been.
This book is about much more than just cheese, so much so that cheese sometimes runs the risk of being only a minor player in the story. If Gordon's life weren't so interesting, or if his insights weren't so thought provoking, that might actually have been a problem with the book. But instead, cheese is the platform from which Gordon chooses to share his worldview with us. This book is a "teaching moment," and not just about cheese! Although, believe me, you will learn plenty about cheese.
What I do not like is self-pious bilge implying one is morally superior to other when that lifestyle has problems as well. The author talks about not being commercial or giving in to corporate values, but finds no problem in consuming expensive cheese flown into San Francisco. No, it is not corporate, but it as selfish as being too corporate.
One example. The carbon foot print of bringing French alpine cheese to the city by the may is not too significant when one person does it, but if we were all to do it would be significant. Seriously, can one give up the fancy cheese for the environment and the betterment of all society. After all we only have one earth and so many cheeses closer to home.
Second complaint. The author chooses to eat fancy cheese. Good for him, but that does not make him superior to any one using their many in different ways. The book implies that this is the case. It is not. All it shows is a lifestyle that will flush many down the crapper for a moment of culinary bliss. That is all this lifestyle does because of its temporal focus.
Still, an enjoyable read that is only slightly marred by the political of the author.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not a catalog of cheeses but a nice personal insight into the business and his path to it. Kind of an Anthony Bourdain take. Read morePublished 11 months ago by GEM
Great read about the real life and work of a San Francisco cheesemonger who has to negotiate dealing with all sorts of customers - the good, the bad, the indifferent and the... Read morePublished on July 14, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Writes about this amazing food in a genial, big picture way. He has seen the flies, smelled the barnyard, met the full political spectrum of producers and consumers and describes... Read morePublished on June 21, 2014 by Reading
Great info ,good writing and enjoyable sense of humor. Recommended reading for the experienced in cheese as well as the novice.Published on December 22, 2013 by robert m shannon
So I shop at Rainbow Grocery - I see Gordon regularly. Love their cheeses. However this book left me flat - I could only make it through about 2/3s of it. Read morePublished on November 29, 2013 by Andrew Nygard
I really wanted to like this book, but I never really "got" the whole punk philosophy thing... Read morePublished on January 29, 2013 by david
I thought this book was great, I've learned a lot about the cheese making process, and I've gotten some good cheese recommendations from the book. Read morePublished on December 6, 2011 by Owen Wall