For the past 10 months, Laurel Miller (culture contributing editor) and I have been working on the "Cheese For Dummies" book for Culture. Yes, THAT For Dummies title. You know, the yellow & black series that attempts to distill all kinds of topics down to their most basic, most understandable form. It was quite the experience, I can assure you, even with the Culture crew supporting us. And although it may not be how other books or cheese experts classify cheese, we decided on very simple designations for a pretty confusing subject that we feel speaks to those of us who aren't experts nor care to be. Because we just want you to love cheese even more without having to feel like you're tackling a science project. I can't let the cat outta the bag yet (sorry!) but if you're interested, the book will be out in June. Or you can contact me directly for more info: email@example.com.
The culture team is at it again! We're proofing the entire spring issue before it goes to print early next week. Such a hardcore work day requires an epic lunch break, which is happening now, thanks to a local (and wildly talented) chef in Brooklyn - you may know her from her restaurant, Homemade
Here are some pics of what's going on in our design team's office today!
I'm full steam ahead planning and editing great content for culture 2012, but before I do that, I often look back at what we've already done in past issues. Doing this recently, I was reminded that one of the best parts of my job is interviewing luminaries in our cheese world to capture, in their own words, reflections on success and failure, and the ever-changing cheese world, for our Voicings feature in every issue of culture. In case you missed them, here's some of my favorite comments from the cheese intelligentsia:
“Dairy used to be an industry that was run by Washington and big companies. It is now run by the consumer. [The issue of] rBGH is a good example; consumers said ‘I want rBGH-free milk’ and it happened. Washington didn’t know what hit them.”
-Dan Carter, cheese marketer and ACS Lifetime Achievement Award winner (Spring 2010 issue of culture)
This summer at the Vermont Artisan Cheese Festival I scored the last available Summer Snow from Woodcock Farm. Mushroomy bloomy rinds are a favorite of mine on a summer evening with friends. I brought it home to the Berkshires and that weekend we opened a bottle of wine, plunked the Summer Snow on a cheeseboard, and tromped out to the screen tent in our flipflops and shorts. We live outside all summer in the Berkshires, but barricade ourselves behind screens because it rains often, and the mosquitos, noseeums, and mayflies are ATROCIOUS. We settled in under our flimsy screen tent.
It was a beautiful evening with a cool breeze keeping the worst of the unwanted guests at bay. We were admiring barn swallows swooping, and cedar waxwings appearing to have an allout rave on the blueberries when the first drops of water hit us from behind. What the...? The western sky was black, but summer rain is a passing thing, and welcome. We scooted closer to the cheese.
I’ve just been informed by my daughter that I’m a lousy nachos maker. “Your chips are too soggy, mom,” she said last night, after I served a platter of this mounded corn chip-melted-cheese-salsa-bean concoction to her and some friends who were occupying our dining room for their common cause—homework.
I was wounded. Can it be that I—a former pastry chef and 25-year veteran food writer, recipe developer, and consummate dinner party giver—can’t make a decent plate of nachos?! This is amateur food, after all! Any teenager with a microwave can throw this %^@ Superbowl stuff together.
With Thanksgiving in just a few days and my super serious diet on hold, I thought I would post up a few alternatives to the old pumpkin pie for the holidays. I'm not much of a cook, nor can I bake, so Jennea, darling, Cottage Cheese Pie please!
First, we have the Fig Goat Cheese Pie with Basil. It's hard to go wrong with figs and goat cheese. Of course, this mini-pie recipe is perfect to prevent that holiday weight.
The Cottage Cheese Pie, my personal favorite, should definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. The chocolatey crumb crust combined with cottage cheese makes for a satisfying dessert after your endless plates of turkey.
Such warm weather so late makes the cold weather seem colder when it comes. The autumn colour seems less bright, too - the leaves have just faded on the trees, rather than go through those startling colours. The fallow deer started their rut later - so are still roaring this month. It’s such hard work for the bucks, they seemed to delay, or maybe it was the does deciding they were hot and bothered not just hot. It won’t change the time they kid, as the does store the semen until it’s time to implant - how do they do that? I’ve heard they can even choose whether they produce males or females, depending on what the herd needs.
There's nothing more I look forward to every year than the sweet cornea and creamy sclera on the eyeballs served on Halloween. Throw that eyeball on a cracker and you should be good to go. Maybe even pass them out to the zombies that come to your doorstep on the night of Halloween. As the new intern here at Culture Magazine, I thought it may be best to share one of my favorite holiday treats.
I won my football pool (again) by picking based on cheeses and beers I was sampling this week. This is not a scientific method. And the good news is that next week I'll be chomping on new cheeses and sipping new beers, so the ramdom chances for winning are always there. And if I don't win...well, I still got to do the "research".
And for celebration tonight, I will be dining on inside out grilled cheese tonight. Triple the cheese!