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Forbidden Fromage: It’s a (W)rap

Regrettably, it is my last week at culture. That also means that this is my final Forbidden Fromage post. You might be wondering what the takeaway has been from the summer internship as a whole, and from my blog series in particular. To answer the first part of that, I’ll say that besides learning I’m most assuredly not a fan of Portuguese thistle rennet cheeses, my appreciation for the realm of cheese grew considerably. I’m still working on developing my tasting vocabulary, but it has been fascinating to compare and contrast several types of cheeses, and to learn about the processes behind their production—both the science and the craft. I’m very eager to continue to educate myself about fromage, both the permitted and the forbidden.

And speaking of Forbidden Fromage… it has been treat for me to cover cheese in such a wide-ranging fashion. The great thing about food, including cheese, is that it can be so much more than a means of feeding your body. Cheese is a symbol, historical narrative, story-teller, and cultural signifier all wrapped in one. I love that I was able to tell the tale of cheese through religion, rap, and war; to explore how cheese can be both an exaggerated and real danger; and how it’s in some fashion very much alive and jumping. If I had to pick, my favorite post was on the much maligned absinthe, once considered the creative cordial of artists before it was unfairly fingered as a societal scourge. In its latest reincarnation, it is helping to create exquisite cheese in upstate New York.

So yes, I’ve had a blast as I have been able to meander through centuries and disciplines all in the name of taboos and prohibitions. Just as I’ve had a blast this summer working for culture. Before I drop the mic, I’ll leave you with these parting lyrics from E-40:

If it ain’t about no gouda, partner, you can vanish.

Johnisha Levi

Johnisha Levi is a Boston-area pastry cook and one of those very rare (think Pegasus) D.C. natives. If ithere's a documentary on food or true crime, chances are that she's seen it (or it's waiting in her Netflix queue). She's a culinary history nerd who is eager to spend her summer at culture learning more about cheese.