Over 850 entries
The Oxford Companion to Cheese is the first truly comprehensive reference work dedicated to the exploration of how four basic ingredients—milk, microorganisms, salt, and enzymes—are transformed into the more than fourteen hundred named cheese varieties enjoyed throughout the world. From cottage cheese to Camembert, from Gorgonzola to Gruyère, the Companion examines cheese on the farm, under the microscope, in the shop, and on the plate.
More than just a pizza topping or cracker spread, cheese has been the founding capital of a few European banking systems, a religious sacrament, and an inspiration for writers and artists as far back as Homer. The Companion reveals these hidden depths in more than 850 wide-ranging entries. Here you will read about rightly famous cheeses, but also some that are not well known outside of their area of production, such as the traditional Turkish and Iranian cheeses ripened in sheep's or goat's skin. You will learn about animal species whose milk is commonly used (cow, goat, and sheep) and not so commonly used (yak, camel, and reindeer) in cheesemaking, as well as a few highly important breeds within each species (the Nubian goat or Lacaune sheep). You will explore regional cheesemaking traditions that date back millennia, and both ancient and modern cheesemaking technology and equipment. And you will delve into the vibrant interior world of cheese: the blooms, veins, sticky surfaces, gooey interiors, crystals, and yes, for some, the strong olfactory notes, are all due to microbial action and growth.
To discuss cheese in its countless forms and contexts, the Companion enlisted 325 authors, including leading cheesemakers, mongers, dairy scientists, microbiologists, anthropologists, historians, journalists, archaeologists, and more, from backgrounds as diverse as cheese itself. This is the definitive guide to one of humankind's greatest discoveries.