Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (Reviews and Interviews)

Wow… thanks to everyone who has reviewed or mentioned Cheesemonger. I am truly grateful.

cover pic

Booklist (Starred review) (not online so you get the whole thing) Gordon (Zola) Edgar recounts his life in cheese, which began when he took a job at the cheese counter of the famed Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco, knowing little beyond the Monterey Jack he grew up eating. His punk-rock aesthetic and political activism meshed beautifully with the worker-run natural foods store, but it wasn’t until a revelatory encounter with an Antique Gruyère that a true passion was kindled. He claims that this is a memoir, not a guidebook, but you couldn’t really ask for a more personable guide and introduction to the world of cheese, especially for those turned off by the lah-de-dahing often associated with it. He has a tendency to talk in circles, wandering from topic to topic and back around again, but it’s almost always enlightening and entertaining. He’ll get into aging cheese, then mirror it with his own maturation, or slice into the political aspects of making cheese (of which there are many), then segue into his own unique role in the community, or counterbalance techie talk of rennet and growth hormones with personal anecdotes of persnickety customers and earthy cheese makers. What really sets him apart, though, is his absolute disdain for pretension. He recognizes that a cheese obsession is inevitably foodie-ish, but that doesn’t mean it has to be tied up in snobbery and fetishization of trendy buzzwords (his picking apart of artisanal and terroir are especially delicious). Each chapter ends with a couple of cheese recommendations for us poor souls not lucky enough to have a Gordon Zola in our own neighborhoods. –Ian Chipman

San Francisco Chronicle
“If there’s a dose of Bourdain here, Edgar more substantively questions the often too-high prices of cheese; details the work of local cheesemakers; and deftly telegraphs how punk aethetics perfectly mesh with a foodstuff that’s seen as the ultimate yuppie indulgence.”

San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Cheesemonger still makes for great food porn. Edgar breaks down how cheeses are made, gives helpful information on basic categories, explains what makes a rind and why the hell cheese is aged in caves, and perhaps most importantly, what to look out for when you do decide to splurge on a wedge”

”Come in the Worker’s Only entrance of the Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco, and meet cheesemonger Gordon Edgar, ex-punk rocker, (slightly) subdued social activist, cheese doler, and storyteller. With briny, down-to-earth candor, Edgar takes us behind the counter, into the storeroom, the factory, the convention centers, and the farms, clarifying misconceptions, breaking down illusions, poking at the ridiculous, and sharing his great passion for good cheese. Like any punk refusing to be labeled, this often hilarious and always tasty book is part cheese guide, part memoir, and part social critique, delivering all with a lip-smacking bite that makes it hard to put down.”

Fair Food Fight
“Having been a grocery guy myself, I love what Edgar is doing in CHEESEMONGER. It’s obviously a book born from a desire to have longer conversations with his customers than social appropriateness will allow. As a reader, you can appreciate how thoroughly and intelligently Edgar addresses, say, the various issues swirling around raw milk cheeses — the health risk to pregnant women, the fact that French cheeses are often pasteurized for American market — and laugh, too…”

Radio Interview on “Edible Communities”
“…the real attraction to this book is that Edgar takes no prisoners in his search for the truth in cheese and we all eat better for it.”

Publishers Weekly
“Armed with a healthy disdain for pretentiousness and a liberal attitude rooted in punk rock and activism, Edgar provides engaging, illuminating essays on the intricacies of cheese and its production” (I also irritated them with my asides and repetition, oh well…)

Memoir by Rainbow Cheesemonger Smashes Foodie Stereotypes (From SF

Antithesis of a Cheese Snob (From “Cheese Underground” blog but a shorter version of the same review appeared in “Culture Magazine” as well)

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (review from

Gordon Edgar, Cheese Whiz>Gordon Edgar, Cheese Whiz (Q&A from

Cheeses! You won’t believe this culinary journey
(review from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Cheesemongers + Winter Artisan Cheese Fest
(From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Cheesemonger: Life on the Wedge (from “Cooking with Amy”)

Book Recommendation: Cheesemonger by Gordon Edgar (From Citrus Quark Blog)


5 responses to “Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (Reviews and Interviews)

  1. thanks for linking my blog and thanks for the great book.

  2. mylineontheline

    I finished reading your book a few days ago and loved it. I wrote a review on my blog,
    My blog is from the perspective of a line cook and I loved reading about someone in the food industry who is passionate about what they do and loves the sub-culture surrounding it because I am pretty much the same way. I learned a lot from your book and I was completely engaged the whole time.
    I put your blog on my “Blogs to Live By” list… keep it up, and check out mine if you get a chance.

    • Oh thanks! That is such a nice review.

      I checked a couple of other entries out too. Your blog is awesome. Keep up the good work.

  3. Pingback: urbandelicious » Blog Archive » Week 4+: American Cheese Month

  4. Pingback: Cheesy Gift Guide From The House Mouse Part 2 – Books | The House Mouse

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