Witty and irreverent, informative and provocative, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge is the highly readable story of Gordon Edgar's unlikely career as a cheesemonger at San Francisco's worker-owned Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. A former punk-rock political activist, Edgar bluffed his way into his cheese job knowing almost nothing, but quickly discovered a whole world of amazing artisan cheeses. There he developed a deep understanding and respect for the styles, producers, animals, and techniques that go into making great cheese.
With a refreshingly unpretentious sensibility, Edgar intertwines his own life story with his ongoing love affair with cheese, and offers readers an unflinching, highly entertaining on-the-ground look at America's growing cheese movement. From problem customers to animal rights, business ethics to taste epiphanies, this book offers something for everyone, including cheese profiles and recommendations for selecting the very best-not just the most expensive-cheeses from the United States and around the world and a look at the struggles dairy farmers face in their attempts to stay on and make their living from the land.
Edgar-a smart, progressive cheese man with an activist's edge-enlightens and delights with his view of the world from behind the cheese counter and his appreciation for the skill and tradition that go into a good wedge of Morbier.
Cheesemonger is the first book of its kind-a cheese memoir with attitude and information that will appeal to everyone from serious foodies to urban food activists.
|Publisher:||Chelsea Green Publishing|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||632 KB|
About the Author
Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, and has been combining both of these infatuations as the cheese buyer for San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative since 1994. Edgar has been a judge at numerous national cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and has had a blog since 2002, which can be found at www.gordonzola.net. Edgar is the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (Chelsea Green 2010) and he enjoys mold in the right places, good cheese stink, and washing his hands upwards of one hundred times a day.
Table of Contents
1. Cheese dreams, cheese nightmares
2. Becoming a cheesemonger
3. Grass, farmland, and where my cheese love story begins
4. Herd animals, farmers, foodies, and co-op workers
5. The milk of human neurosis
6. Cheese culture, punk subculture, and Reagan cheese
7. Rennet, what's in it?
8. Salt in the wounds
9. Mold, secondary cultures, and cheese with stuff in it
10. None of us is getting any younger, especially not the cheese
11. What did I buy into?
12. Terroir, trucking, and knowing your place
13. Withstanding the cuts of a thousand cheese knives
14. The salesman smiled, the salesman lied
15. It's not what we eat, it's that we eat
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great story of finding your place in life and a great lesson on what all cheeses are about. A must for any serious cook or foodie.
I LOVE this book. And even if you don't like cheese beyond the 'American singles' Kraft makes, I still want you to read this book. Bear in mind I grew up in a home where we made cheese, so it always seemed odd that everyone didn't come from homes who did this. But we also grew most of our own food, raised our own meat, as well as hunted and fished. And being from a French and Scottish background we loved a variety of cheeses. And to this day authentic high quality cheese with small sardines on crackers are the treat the kids in the family still ask for. . It whets the appetite of the reader. Encourages with a gentle nudge. Explains the history of cheese and the countries the various cheeses hail from, and why they are wonderful in so many eating situations, from homemade mac and cheese with a mix of three cheeses, to simply slicing off a nice piece of Gruyère and letting it melt in your mouth. The author does a superb job of explaining why we as Americans do ourselves a big favor when we make the effort to buy wonderful artisan cheeses from the small dairy men/women. And how environmentally sound this is, when we buy as close to home as possible. Another reason I love farmers markets here in Northern California. Also appreciated the author sharing with the reader how sales men/women lie and how he loved catching them in a lie. Shows he is a serious cheesemonger! And not just some person working behind the deli counter looking to simply make a sale.
This being a book that people kept telling me was good, my contrary little soul was reluctant to give it chance. But it was so good!!! Granted, a lot of the reason I like it is probably because of my own experience; this book is about working in cheese/natural foods/service in San Francisco, and that is a large portion of my own work experience. If you don't have this experience and ever wanted to know what it's like, this book will let you know.Here are some of the things I liked about it: +the way his three identities: cheesemonger, co-op worker, and punk, interact with each other as metaphors and life history+his thinking about the weird relationship between urban foodies (or just urban people who like to eat) and rural farmers+his debunking of cheese snobbery+the way he talks about cheese stories - they are both the thing that makes the food so fascinating and the marketing that sucks the authenticity out of the deliciousness +his assessment of service workers as the new front lines in social service to crazies (since Reagan killed the support systems)+the honest and caring thinking about how to be an ethical, caring, urban human in a disconnected and confusing societyI devoured this book in one afternoon, which is rare for me with non-fiction. Although I must say, I was a little disappointed by his aversion to fart jokes. Cheesemonger fart jokes are almost always funny, in my opinion, although the joker-maker may not be.