A Global History
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Take a slice of bread. It’s perfectly okay in and of itself. Maybe it has a nice, crisp crust or the scent of sourdough. But really, it’s kind of boring. Now melt some cheese on it—a sharp Vermont cheddar or a flavorful Swiss Gruyere. Mmm, delicious. Cheese—it’s the staple food, the accessory that makes everything better, from the hamburger to the ordinary sandwich to a bowl of macaroni. Despite its many uses and variations, there has never before been a global history of cheese, but here at last is a succinct, authoritative account, revealing how cheese was invented and where, when, and even why.
In bite-sized chapters well-known food historian Andrew Dalby tells the true and
savory story of cheese, from its prehistoric invention to the moment of its modern rebirth. Here you will find the most ancient cheese appellations, the first written description of the cheese-making process, a list of the luxury cheeses of classical Rome, the medieval rule-of-thumb for identifying good cheese, and even the story of how loyal cheese lover Samuel Pepys saved his parmesan from the great Fire of London. Dalby reveals that cheese is one of the most ancient of civilized foods, and he suggests that our passion for cheese may even lay behind the early establishment of global trade.
Packed with entertaining cheese facts, anecdotes, and images, Cheese also
features a selection of historic recipes. For those who crave a pungent stilton, a creamy brie, or a salty pecorino, Cheese is the perfect snack of a book.
“The history of each foodstuff is set out compactly and with erudition . . . Andrew Dalby takes a stab at sheep in Iranian mountains as being the first providers of smelly, spreadable cheese—some 9,000 years ago. But in each case, it's when the history moves closer to current day that revelation and delight meet.” —Diplomat