Tag Archives: cheese

Willie Nelson and cheese

I don’t think of cheese and country music as an obvious link; one rarely hears a country song about dairy farming and/or cheesemaking even as “cowboys” are a staple. I do not have the breadth of knowledge with that genre that I do with punk, but I would bet – if we include references to Reagan Cheese – that there are more punk songs about cheese, than country ones. There are certainly more hip hop songs about “Cheddar”.

So, I didn’t expect my profession to overlap with the crowd too much at the Greek Theater last week when we went to go see Willie Nelson. Because of the people two rows in front of us taking up a lot of space, the two seats in front of us were not taken until the awesome opening band Shovels and Rope* had already started. What did the folks do first? Take out their Cheese Plus picnic of Challerhocker, Sofia,** and a blue and a brie that I could not identify from my angle. I almost started a cheese conversation with them but they had annoyed the people sitting next to us who we had already bonded with so I left it alone. Hey, it’s the first Saturday night I had off in months.

Later, it was time to go to the bathroom and who was in line with me? A dude in a Willow Maid hat! I asked him if he worked for Rumiano and he said no but that he had grown up with Rumianos. I would have gotten more information but it was my turn to pee and a urinal line can turn from surly to violent in a moment’s notice. ***

Let me add – for the sake of the truth — that the most common food I saw at the evening’s show was the nasty pump cheese nachos being sold to very stoned concert-goers.

All this leads me to ask, where are the country music cheese songs? Clearly, there is overlap and interest. I suppose twice a day milkings do not fit in with the outlaw genre, since there’s not a lot of time in a dairy farmer’s day to drink whisky, fight, or run from the law. But, there’s plenty of pathos in low commodity milk prices, mastitis, and, say, bad starter culture ruining a whole batch of cheese. C’mon Nashville, get with it.

Willie Nelson was just as awesome as expected, btw.

*Shovels and Rope = awesome:

**Could have been Lake’s Edge, but I don’t think Cheese Plus has that cheese. It definitely wasn’t Humboldt Fog unless the folks cut off the rinds.

*** Pretty sure there is a Bukowski poem about that…

Cheese songs and cheese name bans

1. There was a good interview with me about cheesemongering here. They somehow found an out-take photo from my book cover photo shoot by the awesome Myleen Hollero.

2. I love the little Comte man. But everytime I see this image:
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I start singing this song, substituting “Comte” for “Police”.

It matters to me what Joe Strummer would have thought and I don’t think he would have approved.

3. The worst thing about that is that – except for the chorus my Comte song makes no sense. Why would the cops be chasing the Comte man? It is not like the internally coherent, “Buffalo Taleggio/Dreadlocked bison/Refrigerate on arrival/Refrigerate for survival” version of the Bob Marley classic I sing whenever we get Quadrello di Bufala in.

4. As for the current controversy regarding the EU wanting to reclaim cheese names, these three articles sum things up well:

The Guardian, The American Cheese Society and Lincoln Broadbanks from “The Better Cheddar”

But I would add that the people hurt most by this would be the largest US cheese companies. Most small-scale producers figured out long ago that naming your cheese after the European was a fool’s game (with some exceptions like Mozzarella. Cheddar is especially a joke in this case because they way that Cheddar is made in the US was invented in the US.). If Kraft comes out in favor of small producer issues — like making sure raw milk cheese can stay legal at 60 days aged — I would feel a lot more strongly on this issue.

5. Let’s just look at a cheese rind now:

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167,000lbs of cheese a day is no joke

Hi Everyone. I was up in Oregon on vacation with the family so I have not been around the internet lately. I had a great cheese trip planned — visiting Briar Rose Creamery on the first day of the year that they were getting goat milk — but snow prevented me from leaving the coast. Instead, I went to visit Tillamook which, though a lot less fun, was probably more useful for the book I am writing.

Look! Factory Cheddar:
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167,000lbs of cheese a day is no joke. We sell about 4000-5000lbs of Tilly a year. At most cheese facilities we carry, buying that much cheese a year would get me a private tour. Here, I was up in the viewing section with the consumers ;):
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It is worth noting that the two national brands of Cheddar that are thought of as “better quality” amongst consumers — Tillamook and Cabot — are both co-ops.

Look! I’m a Tillamook farmer!
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I am not, however, a Blue Heron Donkey.
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I visited this cheese company a couple of blocks from the Tilly factory. Causing me to laugh out loud — since i had just bought a lb of fresh curds from the Tilly factory — they were carrying Henning’s cheese curds all the way from Wisconsin! (I mean, they are better, but still…) I didn’t buy any cheese there but I bought some good chocolate truffles.

The rest of the vacation was spent vacationing. See:
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The year in cheese pictures #1

This year’s batch is just hitting stores now. This is from the batch of Jasper Hill Winnimere that took first place at ACS in 2013. Heck, I voted for it.
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The year in cheese pictures #2

The cheese world remembers:

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The Year in cheese pictures #5

Tunworth! Neal’s Yard-imported Camembert-style from the Hampshire Cheese Co…. first time I’ve seen it in the US and it’s pretty darn awesome!

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The year in cheese pictures #6

Artsy, moldy cheese in walk in.

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The year in cheese pictures #7

Pete and the Giant Stilton! I really didn’t know they made them this big.

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The year in cheese pictures #8

45 years for Redwood Hill! This sculpture is from the Fancy Food Show last January. Amazing!
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The year in cheese pictures #9

One of my favorite new (to me) cheeses this year. Everton from Jacobs and Brichford… More like a well-aged Comte than any other American-made cheese I’ve tried. The last wheel we got was also super oniony in that good Alpine way. Mmmmmmm.

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