Michael Pollan is an American author, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Pollan has written five books on food culture and politics including the best-selling The Omnivore’s Dilemma. His new book is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, due out this spring.
"I started in gardening, and a lot of my work flows out of my experience trying to grow a little food in my backyard in Connecticut . . . That’s been my laboratory since the beginning, my garden."
Mondok and Temple use a goat’s milk feta from Briar Rose Creamery in Dundee, Oregon. This vibrant salad’s ingredients successfully bridge the gap between late winter and early spring. For the true Oregon locavore experience, pair with Penner-Ash Viognier or Heater Allen Pilsner.
In 1815, French Trappist monks returned from exile to their beloved abbey—Notre Dame du Port-du-Salut—located on the Mayenne River in northwest France. Over the next 50 years, the monks used the dairy breeding and cheesemaking skills they had learned abroad to perfect their cheeses. In 1873, the abbey began distributing “Port-du-Salut” in Paris, a washed-rind cheese that has become iconic of France. Port-du-Salut (or Port-Salut) was produced in the abbey until 1959, when production was moved to a larger local creamery.
It may be the sexiest pairing of cheese and liquid I’ve ever had: a Selles-sur-Cher with a sake. The cheese felt like a celebration of spring and cream and grass and goats. The sake seemed far more reserved, broad, and gentle, until it hit the cheese, when it unfurled a silken torrent of flavor. The two melded seamlessly, one playing up the other, the cream intertwining with the sake. It was amazing—and entirely unexpected.
If there’d been white wine on the table, I would have headed in a sauvignon blanc direction—light, bright, crisp, and grassy, with high acidity to cut through all that richness—and ignored anything broad and creamy, for fear the combination would collapse under its own weight. But sake is an entirely different pleasure, one that works under different rules with cheese.
Jeffrey DiMaio, CCP, CSW is the manager at Mazzaro’s Italian Market, in St. Petersburg, Florida, and among the first group of individuals to pass the inaugural Certified Cheese Professional Exam, given last August. DiMaio holds equivalent certifications in wine and beer.
I recently traveled in Italy, where I rediscovered provolone cheese that was sharp and flavorful— nothing like what I buy in the supermarket in the States. Are they really the same cheese? Why do they taste so different?
Shortly before visiting Corsica, I learned that everything I knew about cheese there was wrong. Seana Doughty delivered this news. Doughty, a Northern California cheesemaker (she owns Bleating Heart creamery in Marin County), had recently returned from this mountainous French island in the Mediterranean and was regaling me with stories of her vacation, including a litany of all the fabulous cheeses she had eaten. Then she dropped the bombshell: “You know,” said Doughty, “that Corsicans do not eat Brin d’Amour.”
If you have limited time, you can skip making your own graham crackers for the crust—but a homemade graham cracker crust takes this over the top! Besides, any extra crackers make for a delicious snack. This is exceptional served with a good-quality jam or compote on top. Root prefers to use Cypress Grove fromage blanc in this recipe.
Since one of my husband’s first distinct childhood memories had to do with eating steamers while sitting on someone’s lap, our teenage son’s foodie status should come as no surprise. So when Lucien started to pore over cookbooks—and then food blogs—and to be glued to the TV Food Network, I took it all in stride. His paternal grandparents, after all, always described their travels meal by meal, all other landmarks seemingly incidental.
It was late July on the southeastern Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece, and despite the early hour it was already hot. With three friends I was on my way to visit Dimitris and Yianoula Hiotis and their son, Andreas. Shepherds and cheesemakers, the Hiotis family is among a handful of people in the region who still craft a rare and ancient cheese called touloumotiri. After two years of searching for the real thing and finding only two examples of it, I was finally on my way to watch it being made. In the days of Homer, shepherds were society’s principal cheesemakers, and throughout much of rural Greece, they still are. In ancient times shepherds stored and transported the cheese from the milk of their flocks in the cleaned and heavily salted skins of sheep or goats.
As a writer and specialist in the cheese trade, I am often focused on fine cheeses that are presented as small bites on boards at specialty shops and upscale restaurants. So it was a rare treat to spend time with the family at Queseria Ochoa, a large-scale cheese factory in Albany, Oregon, and explore a part of the cheese world I feel passionately about: high-quality cheeses designed for use in the kitchen. While the “cheese board” cheese business is growing, many more people cook with cheese on a regular basis than eat it as a stand-alone food. When Francisco Ochoa, the man at the helm of Queseria Ochoa, said plainly in our very first conversation, “In Mexico we put cheese on everything,” I was immediately at ease and felt I’d found a cheese compadre.