Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekly Poll: Breast milk cheese

While looking for obscure cheese facts, as I am wont to do since the beginning of this blog, I came across a site for a French farm that claims to specialize in cheese made out of human breast milk. Unfortunately, the good people at Snopes have determined that it is a hoax, which is too bad. Being that this is the internet, however, I was quickly able to find a blog entry in which the writer detailed her attempt to make Paneer (a.k.a. cottage cheese) out of her own breast milk. In the end she found that it's just not possible because breast milk doesn't curdle like cows' milk.

I was pretty disappointed to read her end results as I find the idea of making cheese out of your own milk a fascinating concept. Other people understandably do not share my enthusiasm, my group mate included. What are your thoughts on the matter? Vote in the new poll and feel free to share your two cents.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cheesy desserts: Leaving the ice cream in the freezer

We tend to associate cheese with more savory dishes such as pizza and nachos, but there are some desserts that call for cheese, such as cheesecake and tiramisu. And then there are the concoctions that make us scratch our heads and think, How on earth can that be good? But if there's anything I like more than blogging about cheese, it's cheese dishes that make us think outside of the box.

Fudge is tasty, but will adding Velveeta cheese make it even better? Paula Deen seems to think so (which I must say I find completely unsurprising), and she's not the only one given the number of different online stores I found that sell the, um, delicacy. recently had a feature on apple pie with cheese à la mode, which you can order at Mel's Drive-In. As you can see from the photo, it looks like a regular slive of apple pie but with what looks to be melted Cheddar on top. According to the adventurous diner (the writer, not Mel's), the cheese flavor is not as overwhelming as one would think. I might just have to try this the next time I come across Mel's in San Francisco.

Finally, the last cheesy dessert for today is Apple-Gruyère pie. The concept is pretty similar to the other pie, but this is really just an excuse to post a picture of Chuck from the whimsical show Pushing Daisies. Chuck is a cheese enthusiast who bakes these special pies for her shut-in aunts, but what they don't know is that she also laces them with anti-depressants in the hopes that they'll find the desire to leave their house once in a while. That, and the fact that she came back to life after having drowned while on a cruise ship, all thanks to her childhood friend who has the ability to resurrect the dead. Yeah, it's complicated.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weekly Poll: Wisconsin or California cheese?

Wisconsin is known for their cheese. It's a vital part of the state's culture and history, and if you don't believe me, try googling the term "cheesehead." The state has come dangerously close to being dethroned as the United States' cheese capital, however, thanks to competition from California for the title of the country's largest cheese producer. Dairy economists had predicted back in late 2006 that California would soon surpass Wisconsin in production, but it's now mid-2008 and such predictions have yet to come true. It's said that they won't come true any time soon, either, as the gap between the two states has actually gotten wider over the last few years. Cheeseheads all over the state of Wisconsin will now be able to sleep easier at night, no doubt.

But forget who makes and sells more: Where does your allegiance lie, with Wisconsin or with California? Do you believe that "great cheese comes from happy cows, [and that] happy cows come from California"? Or are you all for "America's Dairyland"? Vote in our new poll and tell us what you think.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Gift ideas for Mother's Day

Mother's Day usually entails the following: phone calls, flowers, and mad dashes to the local Hallmark store. If you're like most of us and you've procrastinated on getting something special for the one who gave you life, don't fret. You can still get your mom something cool, something involving cheese, perhaps? (Remember just what blog it is you're reading.) Either way, it beats a lame greeting card with a puppy on the front.

Left to right, row by row:
Cheese of the Month Club membership ($840/year): It's the gift that keeps on giving!
The Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins ($16.95): Give Mom this and she'll be well on her way to becoming a well-versed cheese connoisseur.
Rachael Ray fondue set ($49.99): Oh, hush, fondue is hip again.
Set of 4 Pewter cheese markers ($50): So gorgeous! If I owned these, I'd make it a habit to serve cheese all of the time.
Clean slate risers ($30.00-$98.00): A very classy and tasteful way to display your cheese.
Mouse cheese knife ($5.95): Because mice and cheese go together. You had to have seen this coming.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: The Cheese Edition

I think it is safe to say that nearly everyone loves cheese. However, our preferences in types of cheese vary greatly as one person might swear by the stinky stuff and at the same time deplore Kraft singles while another might hold the opposite opinion. Why is this the case, and furthermore, could it be possible that your socioeconomic background plays a role as to the kind of cheese you favor?

In Michael J. Weiss' article entitled "A Tale of Two Cheeses," it's suggested that the city of Washington D.C. is dichotomous in almost every way: black or white, rich or poor, Democratic or Republican, and most importantly to us, fans of Velveeta or Brie.

According to Weiss, D.C.-based Brie lovers are generally white-collar professionals and suburbanites who are college-educated and earn six-figure incomes. Their love for Brie accounts for the area's 13 percent market penetration rate, which is more than twice the 5 percent national average.

This greatly contrasts with the Velveeta demographic, who are usually middle-class families that live in predominantly black neighborhoods and hold down blue-collar, service-oriented jobs. In contrast with the Brie statistics, however, the D.C. area's Velveeta market penetration rate is lower than that of the nation (14 and 16 percent, respectively).

This isn't to say that Brie and Velveeta are always pitted against each other West Side Story-style, as there's no doubt that there are households that consume both, but it looks as though it doesn't happen much in most of Washington given the "almost total lack of crossover appeal between Brie and Velveeta." Sigh. Can't the Sharks and Jets just get along? Either way, take all of this information with a grain of salt. The article was written for a publication entitled American Demographics after all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The fine art of cheese

Question: Which of the following does not belong?
A) Clay
B) Crayon
C) Paint
D) Cheese

The answer is D) Cheese because it is not an commonly used art medium. But try telling that to the following artists who have managed to defy convention and integrated cheese into their work.

Sandy Skoglund is known for her installations, which are oftentimes surreal and vibrant in color. It doesn't get any more surreal than a room, not to mention the people in it, covered entirely in cheese puffs (the supermarket kind, not the pastries) in a piece entitled "The Cocktail Party," as shown to the left.

Sarah Kaufmann is the self-described "Cheese Lady," and for good reason. She has carved all sorts of things about of blocks of cheese, ranging from famous faces to animals, inanimate objects to college mascots. She is a Wisconsin native and had worked for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board before embarking on her career as a cheese sculptor, so it's safe to say that cheese and dairy are practically in her blood.

Champion cheese carver (who knew that there was such a title?) Troy Landwehr turned a 1,200 pound block of Cheddar cheese into an ersatz Statue of Liberty. That is patriotism at its best.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Getting healthy with Korean cheese

Photo credit: Seoul Milk

It's probably not a well-known fact that cheese is a big deal in Korea. In fact, the people there get such a kick out of it that not only do they buy the normal "every day" varieties but lots of unusual cheese products as well such as cheese with black beans, cheese yogurt with fruit, cheese ice cream, cheese with calcium, and so on.

Today, we're going to focus on cheese infused with vegetables such as carrots and spinach. I know that it sounds weird, and I felt the same way initially, but I quickly changed my opinion of it to "wow" once I tried it because it is so good. These cheeses, created by Seoul Milk as a way to get children to eat more vegetables, are made from cheese powder and either carrot or spinach juice. They're great for parents who are worried that their children aren't getting the nutrients they need as these cheeses are a good source of calcium, iron, and beta carotene, which is good for the immune system. They're also popular among women who are dieting. Go figure.

Seoul Milk’s website (note: it's in Korean) provides some recipes involving cheese, and many users are competing against each other with their recipes. While you're there, why not enjoy a game of PacMan in which the titular character, instead of eating up fruit, seeks out cheese! Enjoy your time with Korean Cheese!