Behind every traditional type of cheese there is a fascinating story. By examining the role of the cheesemaker throughout world history and by understanding a few basic principles of cheese science and technology, we can see how different cheeses have been shaped by and tailored to their surrounding environment, as well as defined by their social and cultural context. Cheese and Culture endeavors to advance our appreciation of cheese origins by viewing human history through the eyes of a cheese scientist.
There is also a larger story to be told, a grand narrative that binds all cheeses together into a single history that started with the discovery of cheese making and that is still unfolding to this day. This book reconstructs that 9000-year story based on the often fragmentary information that we have available. Cheese and Culture embarks on a journey that begins in the Neolithic Age and winds its way through the ensuing centuries to the present. This tour through cheese history intersects with some of the pivotal periods in human prehistory and ancient, classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern history that have shaped western civilization, for these periods also shaped the lives of cheesemakers and the diverse cheeses that they developed. The book offers a useful lens through which to view our twenty-first century attitudes toward cheese that we have inherited from our past, and our attitudes about the food system more broadly.
This refreshingly original book will appeal to anyone who loves history, food, and especially good cheese.
About Paul Kindstedt
Paul Kindstedt, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Vermont in the department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. He teaches Dairy Chemistry, Fermented Dairy Foods, and Cheese and Culture.
“Cheese and Culture is the book both cheese professionals and cheese geeks have been waiting for. Professor Kindstedt gives us the mostly untold history of cheese and its societal import from 6500 BC to the present, answering all my cheese questions — even the ones I didn’t know I had. Cheese and Culture is the most comprehensive cheese book ever written by an American, a great addition to our collective cheese library.”–Gordon Edgar, cheese buyer, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, San Francisco, and author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge
“Paul Kindstedt has fashioned a remarkable book about one of humankind’s most distinctive foods. Drawing upon comprehensive evidence from archaeology to contemporary artisan cheese making, Dr. Kindstedt shapes the complex story of cheese. He examines the impact of geography and climate, religion, social status and wealth, transportation and commerce… to describe and explain the 8,500-year evolution of cheese from Neolithic humans to present-day America. From archaeologists and anthropologists and historians to cheesemakers and consumers who want to deepen their understanding and appreciation of cheese, Dr. Kindstedt’s book will enlighten, entertain, and reveal the fascinating history and culture of cheese. Bravissimi e complimenti!”–Jeffrey Roberts, New England Culinary Institute, and author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese
“Dr. Kindstedt’s love and passion for the artisan cheese movement is inspiring. In his latest book, he has presented a beautiful and historically rich mosaic of the history of cheese on our little green planet. With reference to the past, and detailed attention paid to the present, as well as extrospection for the future, Dr. Kindstedt has created an amalgamation of artisan cheese reference, the like of which has not been attempted before.”–Matt Jennings, co-owner/executive chef, Farmstead/La Laiterie, Providence, RI
“Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and Its Place in Western Civilization” by Paul S. Kindstedt
The Washington Post Book Review – April 13, 2012 (Excerpt)
The long arc of human history has produced astonishing developments in technology, medicine, culture and many other facets of life. Focusing on one such element and tracing its progression through the centuries can be a risky proposition, and it helps if you have a subject that matters in everyday life. Let’s say cheese.
Paul S. Kindstedt’s new book focuses on that food, which has been with us for eons. Cheese was firmly entrenched in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt; the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage would, among other effects, “influence cheesemaking for centuries to come”; cheesemaking was one of many factors causing colonists in New England to rely heavily on slave labor. Kindstedt points out that cheese made in Rhode Island was sent to the West Indies in exchange for molasses, which was used to make rum in New England, and the rum, in turn, was used to purchase slaves.
“Cheese and Culture” is billed as a history of cheese, which doesn’t really do the book justice. Kindstedt gives ample context for each development. The star dairy product will disappear for pages at a time while he lays the groundwork for the next shift in methodology or emergence of a new cheese making region. We also learn, too briefly, about how dairymaids dominated cheese making for centuries, to the extent that dairywomen were caretakers of “secret knowledge” passed down from generation to generation. [Read the full article...]
THE LONDONDERRY AIR
Testament of an Ulster Gunman
A Novel by Garrad Gawler
It all changed for Charles Cunningham, a Physics teacher at the local College of Technology in the County Derry town of Maddenstown, on a June afternoon in 1973 when a bomb exploded in his neighborhood. He answers an advertisement by the UDR, the Ulster Defence Regiment, but, in the time to come, he will experience the consequences of his decisions, and how his involvement complicates matters with family and friends, Protestants and Catholics alike, to an unexpected degree.
With “The Londonderry Air – Testament of an Ulster Gunman” Garrad Gawler describes in minute detail and with an astonishing level of authenticity not only the inner workings of the Ulster Defence Regiment, but also the activities of underground paramilitary groups of regular citizens who planned and carried out the assassination of suspected Republican terrorists in their neighborhood.
The Londonderry Air is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon Kindle (US), Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Kindle (UK), Barnes & Noble, smashwords.com, and any other good bookstore.
For more information on Garrad Gawler and to read an excerpt of “The Londonderry Air,” please see the author’s section on this website.