Sunday, June 27, 2010

Red, White and Blue Cheeseburgers for the Fourth of July

Nothing says summer and The Fourth of July better than a grilled hamburgers on the barbecue. For the fixin's this year, offer 2 kinds of cheese like the standard beloved sliced cheddar, but also why not try the not-so-standard-but-intriguing crumbled Blue Cheese. (Okay, the burgers are not gonna be blue.)

Your guests will be delighted to have both the traditional down-to-earth, average but eternally yummy cheeseburger, and a taste of something a little more upscale, a little more far out, yet lipsmackin' as well. Cut some of the cheeseburgers in half or even quarters so that everyone has a chance to try both.

For the red... tomatoes and cooked bacon! Yes!

For the white... sweet, mild and white Vidalia onions, raw and sliced.

Blue cheese, also known as Roquefort is sharp, creamy and spicy, the perfect complement to the robust meatiness of beef. With cheese, like with many things, the cheapest version isn't the one you want to spend money on-- go with a slightly more expensive choice like a Cambozola from Germany or a Amablu St. Pete's Select Premium, cave-aged in Minnesota. Your tongue will thank you and remind you later that you want to eat that again!

There you have it-- your 4th of July main dish-- all the sides and dessert, beverages, buns can be tailored in a quick snap to your liking and budget. Modern convenience, simple and a little adventurous.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yay for Subway! Cheese Placement in a Sub Sandwich is That Important

Beginning July 1, 2010 something momentus is happening in the world of cheese and fast food:

Subway will tesselate their cheese (see diagram).

You'd think that graduates from The University of Subway (yes, this is real) or Subway's self-titled, Sandwich Artists would've come up with this idea aleady but apparently, the change towards better cheese coverage came at the request of a joe-blow consumer.

How mankind ever survived in the modern age without cheese tesselation is a mystery.

Subway was ranked #1 in 2010 by Entrepeneur Magazine (again) on its list of "America's Top Global Franchises". The American fast food chain has successfully carried forward its brand into 91 countries to date.

Source: The Consumerist

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How About Some Cheese with That Coffee?

"Do you take your coffee with milk, sugar or cheese?"

"Juustoleipä, please."

The thought of a few blobs of squeaky cheese in your coffee is not at all strange if you're in Finland. In fact Finlanders use this national treasure, leipäjuusto also called juustoleipä, in a variety of ways from eating it as a dessert to an addition to a salad. Translated, leipäjuusto means "cheese bread" and traditionally was kept for long storage through the drying.

"Traditionally, leipäjuusto was dried and could then be stored for up to several years. For eating, the dry, almost rock hard cheese was heated on a fire which softened it and produced an especially appetizing aroma." (Wikipedia)

Made of cow, reindeer or goat's milk that's been curdled and formed into a round disk, leipäjuusto is then grilled or flambéed leaving distinctive charred marks on the surface.

Perhaps the thought of cheese in your coffee isn't too far fetched-- isn't cheese a close cousin of cream? Well for my fellow cheese enthusiasts, Carr Valley Cheese Company makes and sells this specialty for a modest sum if you want to experience a new pleasure that's a beloved Scandinavian culinary tradition not only in Finland but also in Sweden as well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cheese Quote of the Day

The Old Foodie uncovered a wonderful cheese quote gem in M.F.K. Fisher's, How to Cook a Wolf (1942):
"Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love."

Cheese is an "Alien Taste" to the Chinese

Living in the middle of China 20 years ago, cheese was certainly considered to be an alien food, just as were the sea slugs we were served as honorable guests at a round table banquet. Today however, as incomes rise and more becomes available through the global economy cheese is gaining a small but secure foothold on the Chinese palate.

Here's an excellent news clip on the state of cheese in China.

Source: New Tang Dynasty Television, June 18, 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Cup Has Something To Give to Global Hunger

Whether your cup is half full or half empty, you have enough in your cup to share with the few with cups that are literally empty. If you are reading this post, you are likely in the top echelon of the world's most educated and most wealthy.
"1.02 billion people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union"
-- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Eradication of extreme hunger is actually feasible in the current century. The World Food Programme is spearheading this is a top priority and has made this their number one goal.
Women and children suffer the most; they're the ones left behind, the women must find a way to feed their children. Health, education, clothes and shoes all come secondary to a hungry stomach. All mothers want the best for their children, and if they can afford it they will gladly send their children to school. But the reality is that they may need their 10 year old to sell fried bananas on the street all day, just to make enough to buy enough to eat for that one day. Education can only help those who have food to eat, and are healthy enough to go. Clothes and shoes do help with immediate needs, but if a child has these things it means nothing on an empty stomach.
Fill the Cup is just one of the multi-faceted methods to address the humanitarian crisis that can be fixed. Collectively, with the resources of many, we can work our way towards ending hunger on a global scale. Won't you join this effort?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Casein, The Cheese Protein Wonder Drug

Now I know why I can't stop with just one bite of cheese when it's sitting on a cheese board...

When we eat cheese, we also ingest and break down casein, the most prolific protein in cheese. Part of the casein is converted to casomorphin (yes, in the same family as morphine) to produce a 'feel good' effect that probably contributes to that indulgent 'oh, let's just chill out on the couch for a bit and slice off a few more chunks' phenomenon. (Source:

Thank you, my dear blog friend, for explaining this uncontrollable urge to the struggling few of us out there with an addiction to cheese. :P

On a more serious note though, the regular consumption of cheese is being increasingly found to bring balance and sustained health to bodies depleted from ordinary stresses over time. See here and here. Could cheese be the ticket to wellbeing and well-thinking?

Gevalia Free Shipping on All Orders

I Need Me Some Soy Cheese, Please

The humble soybean has yielded extraordinarily imaginative food choices for modern man. All across the globe, with origins in the East but now moving westwards, soy is morphing into acceptable, and perhaps even sought after, food choices. Such is the case with soy cheese.

Soy cheese is a welcome alternative to those who love cheese but have trouble eating it for a variety of health related or ethical reasons. Consumer demand is driving the production of vegan cheeses which coincidentally, runs parallel to modern medical knowledge.

Tofu, a soybean product, has been morphed into a thousand variety of vegetarian dishes in the East where not only ascetic Buddhist monks must conform to a non-meat diet, but also where soybeans have had a significant standing as an inexpensive form of protein. It would only make sense then that soybeans would mimic a food pervasive in the Western diet.

This, of course, is an evolution of experimentation but the similitude is ever getting closer. Specialty health food companies are stepping up to the cheese-plate with the ever growing demand for soy cheese products. This is very good news for a new, more aware generation of health conscious consumers.

* correction: I previously blogged that Daiya Foods makes soy cheese. A reader corrected me; they do not. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bike Helmet Safety with Stinky Cheese

Known for their technological innovation, German scientists have come up with an effective way for bicycle enthusiasts to know when it's time to get a new helmet. The new issue contains stinky cheese smelling capsules that are released when the helmet is cracked or damaged in some way and no longer safe to use.

For many a cheese lover, stinky cheese is a welcome aroma when it's the creamy, decadent stuff we find on a cheese board accompanied with crackers and a good beer. But when the putrid aroma of decaying cheese comes from your bike helmet it can be disturbing-- disturbing enough to go out and get a new one.

This is exactly what the these companies are banking on. (Source:

Cheese and Raclette Spot on FoodistaCheese and Raclette Spot

Friday, June 4, 2010

French Cheeses Face Extinction

Paulette Marmottan is one of the remaining few farmstead cheesemakers in France, a nation known and defined by their love and consumption of cheese. She, her husband and son manage the 365 day-to-day laborious operations of a small farm in the French Alps, La Savinaz, where 33,000 pounds of persille de Tignes are crafted from 30 cows and 80 goats a year.

Though the exact number of cheeses proudly produced by the French used to number in the thousands, today, many of the traditional handmade varieties, prized throughout the history of France, are no longer being made. In fact, out of the 100 or so raw cheeses in production 3 disappear every year, this due primarily to economic reasons. The ones that remain are the few that can still command a sustainable price for production by discriminating cheese consumers.

"The paradox is that we're known as the land of cheese yet we're losing a increasing number," says Veronique Richez-LeRouge, president of the Association Fromages de Terroirs, a nation who fetishously has joked that they have a different cheese for every day of the year. Twentieth century French politician and war strategist, Charles de Gaulle is quoted for saying, "How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?"

As is the case with 52 year old Paulette Marmottan, their backbreaking artisan craft is one passed down from generation to generation. Their methods combined with the unique terroir of the region yield distinctive cheeses, their secrets kept within the confines of the family alone. And when these families get too old to continue and the next generation decides they don't want to be farmers, these traditions die out and the cheeses become extinct. Traditional farmstead creations give way to industrialized companies and processed products.

In the United States, however, a return to pioneer living, a reverence for a simpler time and way of life is giving way and farmstead and artisan cheesemaking is on a rapid rise. Perhaps, this is France's destiny as well. As a nation that still consumes vast amounts of cheese, second only to Greece in the EU, a self-awareness eventually emerges. Whether or not France can bring about a rebirth in their cheesemaking traditions, only time will tell. (Sources: The Washington, The Huffington, Brainy

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheese Chasers Carrying On the Proud Tradition

Some traditions, like cheese chasing for instance, cannot be thwarted no matter what.

Such was the case of the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling event in England on May 31. For a century now, "Englishmen have been chasing a round of Double Gloucester down a steep hill in the Cotswolds" as Peter Moore writes in online publication, A Tangled Web.

What has become an extraordinarily popular event had to be cancelled this year, despite public sentiment, due to organizers' inability to manage traffic and crowds.

Nonetheless Chris Anderson, six time winning cheese rolling champion, made it out with 300 spectators in an unofficial cheese rolling contest. Five races were organized and Chris Anderson came away with the cheese once again in both the first and the last race, being the first to capture the 8 pound round of local cheddar.

For 22 years local cheesemaker and artisan, Diana Smart, has been lending her craft to what has become an important cheese tradition. She's now 82 years old, and has found a bit of celebrity status, making a cameo appearance in a music video by Maccabees because of the important role she plays in this cheese rolling fest. (See "Can You Give It" on YouTube.)

Apparently, the ties that bind cheese rolling fanatics cannot be severed easily. Thankfully for them, Cheese Rolling Committee has pledged to carry on the show next May.