Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Blessed are the cheesemakers

I suddenly had this thought: Why have I never written anything about American cheese?

Perhaps not all of my readers would find this among the most engrossing of topics, but then neither are funny hats, or obscure religious observances, or comic songs of the nineteenth century, to all of which I give earnest attention from time to time. And publishing a piece about American cheese would be one more step towards the attainment of an aspiration which has long been close to my heart: the establishment of OMF as an internationally respected compendium of all human knowledge to which anyone may turn in search of enlightenment, guidance or spiritual sustenance.

So, here, with acknowledgements to the mighty Oxford Companion to Food, is an authoritative summary of the subject:

Two American cheeses which claim to be original are Brick, a whole-milk cheese with an elastic texture, and Liederkranz, developed at the end of the 19th century by Emil Frey, a dairyman of Swiss origin, to replace the German cheese Schlosskäse; in fact it was better. Originally made in New York State, it is now popular throughout the USA and its centre of production is in Van Wert, Ohio; it is an orange-skinned surface-ripened cheese with a strong aroma, a mellow taste and a creamy centre.

Other American cheeses are are mostly versions of European ones, especially American Cheddar, which was first made in New England early in the 17th century, and was being exported to England by the end of the 18th century. The Cheddar technique, adapted to a greater or lesser extent, now produces numerous varieties, including Colby, Colorado Blackie, Coon, Cornhusker, Herkimer County Cheese, Longhorn, Monterey, Sage (or Vermont Sage), and Tillamook.

One might also mention Philadelphia cream cheese and, if one must, the products manufactured and sold worldwide by Kraft Foods Inc, which include Real Kraft Cheddar Canned Cheese.

There is much, much more to be said about American cheeses but I think I will stop there. Quite possibly, I will never return to the subject.

1 comment:

outeast said...

At least Real Kraft Cheddar Canned Cheese cones in a tin - not an aerosol can.

But then, I guess you did specifically say you were writing about cheese... and not processed cheese food.