So here begins an extended effort to inform, edify, enrich and entertain the masses, and myself. Another blog for the swill. This one will simulate focus by professing a single unifying theme: Cheese.
What follows will be an indefinite, probably irregular series of posts all concentrated on the subject of Cheese. We will test the limits of the subject’s endurance, its elasticity, its tensile strength; we will prod its depths and surfaces, shimmy our probes under the skin, dissect the organs. At some point, with regret, we will abandon the whole mess, leaving only shredded carrion too wretched for scavengers. Like the Socratic method, or an old-fashioned martyrdom.
Why would I choose to write on Cheese? A proper explanation would become too personal, too quickly. This is not a diary blog. “If all goes well,” as they say, you will see, you will understand what has attracted my attention, excited my ambition, if you don’t already. For now I can summarize a few points: Cheese is important to me, it is important to America, and it is important to Civilization. Maybe. For known and unknown reasons I enjoy learning about it. And for obvious, irrefutable reasons I enjoy eating it.
I believe there are untapped reserves of enchanting, amusing, innaresting things to be written on Cheese, and I also believe there are reserves of readers who might, or should, want to learn more. Consider Internet lesson #1: No subject is too far left field to win brief allegiance from these strange hordes of networked souls. And Cheese is not even left field. As Battistotti, Bottazzi, Piccainardi, and Volpato have argued, “without cheese Western Man, or many of his number, simply could not have survived as long as he has.”
Despite my respect and goodwill for other cheese blogs I’ve run across, I hope to differentiate my own in a few ways. My initial proscriptive principles, then, will be as follows (perhaps more detailed explanations will come in future posts):
- I will try to avoid the temptation, widespread today, to peddle in Food Porn — as in the style of unconvincing gush that dominates descriptions of terrior and Farmer’s Markets. It infects modern cheesewriting like a pox. I have no purpose for it here.
- I will not simply provide another guide to modern cheese consumerism. There are plenty of decent books, magazines, catalogs, and websites that primarily exist to help you buy your cheese. This blog is to be more about sloppy amateur cheese scholarship and dilettante indulgence, maybe some story-telling, and a carnival of curiosities.
- As I will not limit my treatment of Cheese to its contemporary niche market, the artisanal boom in America, and so on, I also will not restrict Cheese to a subcategory of Wine Culture, under the “pairing” umbrella. I leave that to the glossy books.
There’s what I hope to leave out, provisionally. Here’s what’s to be expected:
- Essays into the history and cultural significance of Cheese, according to what I can find on the internet and in the library. I want to dig up dusty stuff.
- Comments on the books and sites about Cheese that I look at.
- Some tasting and background notes on specific cheeses — as a form of gratification, as a means to inform, as a tangible base, and as a gateway to other things. These notes might also help people buy cheese from stores, if inclined. (And I do encourage cheese-buying.)
- Learned ruminations on Cheese references literary, philosophical, theological, proverbial, and otherwise. These will be written in armchairs, preferably, while wearing spectacles.
- General posts on whatever demands or deserves comment.
- Informational posts intended for nothing more than education, certainly not pleasure.
Finally, I’ll ask anyone who comes across this site to send me comments, questions, suggestions, ideas and anecdotes, cheese references you’ve run across, links cheese-related or otherwise relevant, and so on. Any outside input can only increase my enjoyment, and that’s what really matters here.
This is all meant to be shameless.