The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese
Broadway, 2013 (2013)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
f you are a cheese devotee, do I ever have the book for you!
The Whole Fromage
by Kathe Lison. If you have ever wondered about cheese – how it came about, how it is made, how many varieties there are - what country comes to mind when discussing or wondering about cheese? Or do you just take it for granted when you slather a chunk of French bread with a knife full of a just right soft Brie? Or as you hold your breath when you get that crumbly Roquefort near your mouth?
athe Lison undertook to travel France to discover for herself the answers to these questions. Tough job, but fortunately we had Kathe to do it for us! She posits how the first cheeses came to be and then works forward to today's masterpieces. She talked to the cheese makers who have made it their life's work as did their forbears. The methods have changed a great deal, for the most part, as has the equipment necessary to make your daily hit of cheese possible. Modernization has increased the output of this heavenly food, but there are still those who adhere to the old ways.
ison discusses the workings of a cow's stomach and how cow's milk is used to make a welcome addition to our daily diets. She addresses the use of sheep and goat's milk also. She visits farms and big conglomerates alike to chronicle the life of cheese. She does this in a very subtle way so that before we know it we want to read and absorb what she spent so much time compiling. Kathe Lison also delves into the rules that regulate the manufacture of cheese, whether it be in a big factory or a small barn. The use of raw milk is in contention, as it has been for many years. It's an intriguing account and, lucky her, she got to taste.
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