Tag Archives: reviews

Grocers and librarians: united once again.

In all the excitement I forgot to link a couple of reviews that I really appreciate. Both have a perspective on the work part of being a cheese worker, one written by a grocery worker (and author), the other by a librarian (and author). Check ’em out.

This from Barth Anderson at Fair Food Fight, a great web resource. “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.”

This from Sara Ryan, from her blog I didn’t expect to find passages that would resonate especially strongly for folks who work in public libraries, but guess what? They’re there… (Cheesemonger is about cheese. And community. And politics. But don’t worry — it’s also really funny.

Thanks folks!

Humbled by the good reviews…

Linkity round up:

Going away for a week (three book events, the rest vacation) was awesome. Coming home was made nicer by finding some great reviews had been printed/posted in my absence. I hope you don’t mind the self-indulgence, but I will lose the links if I don’t post them here:

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.”

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…)


Just call me Babs

I have to get back to the Food Show, but hey, I got an awesome review from Jeanne Carpenter on “Cheese Underground” blog.

Not only does she call me the Barbara Mandrell of the cheese counter, but who could ask for better praise than this:

I bought and sped read his book last week as a writing assignment for a magazine and have to admit I was not looking forward to it, as I’ve really started dreading reading cheese books. Most of the cheese guides hitting the book stores these days are full of pretentious verbiage written by people who assume that by reputation alone, they are THE authority on cheese.

Not Gordon.

I’m totally gonna start putting peanuts in my Coke.