Cheese Book Review – It’s Not You It’s Brie

It's Not You It's Brie by Kirstin Jackson

It’s Not You It’s Brie by Kirstin Jackson

This is a new cheese book that was just released on November 6, 2012.

I have been reading Kirstin Jackson’s blog It’s Not You It’s Brie for several years. When I discovered that she had published a cheese book I rushed to Amazon.com and purchased the Kindle edition for my Holiday reading pleasure.

This book is an exploration of 50 American cheeses. Each cheese has a history and a story behind it. Kirstin interviewed the cheese makers to gain insight into the why and how of each cheese. It is an easy read.

She methodically describes each cheese and the place where it is made. She explores the cheese makers and their inspiration for their cheeses. Kirsten provides several wine or beer pairing suggestions for each of the featured cheese. She ends each study by suggesting a few alternative cheeses, similar to the featured cheese, just in case the featured cheese is not available locally to the reader. Following each chapter is a cheese recipe intended to showcase a cheese that she has explored in the chapter.

The best part of the book is Kirsten’s heavy use of entertaining analogies. The book is full of them. It’s a writing style that I enjoy reading. By example, the first sentence of the book’s introduction states “American cheese has more styles than the Pope has gilded robes in his Vatican armoire”.  She says of fresh cheese – “Like a Tween with access to their parents’ Playboy channel, fresh cheeses need constant supervision”.  In describing France’s Loire Valley’s influence on American goat cheese she says – “It’s what Nashville, Tennessee it to country music or what Victoria’s Secret is to people with a penchant for push-ups”. Her writing style adds a little fun and still drives the point home.

If you are a foodie, or cheese passionate, then this book will satiate some of your cheese curiosity. If you read the book you will be rewarded with a better understanding of cheese styles. You will be left with some cheeses that you will want to try. It will make your next trip to the cheese counter more pleasurable.

There was only one disappointment for me … there were no Canadian cheeses referenced. None. But that is understandable. Based on the book’s subtitle “Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese”, Kirstin has delivered.

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Cheese Book – Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge

Cheesemonger Book Cover by Gordon Edgar

Cheesemonger – A Life on the Wedge by Gordon Edgar, is the latest addition to my cheese library. Much of my cheese “home schooling” curriculum involves following cheese and food blogs. I found Gordon’s Cheese Blog, discovered that he wrote a book, and then found his book at amazon.ca.

I just finished reading his book this week and thought I would post a cheese book review.

Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge by Gordon Edgar was published March 2010. It is current. This is a chart of reader reviews of the book from Amazon.com.

Clearly, most people have enjoyed this book. Click the chart to read other reviews.

The cheese books that I have read so far have been cheese reference guides. There is nothing wrong with that. But those books are tedious to read cover to cover.  Cheesemonger – A Life on the Wedge is quite different. It is not a cheese guide, it is a story. It is the auto-biography of Gordon Edgar who is a San Fransisco based political activist, punk rocker turned cheesemonger. The book is filled with words, not pictures.

The book engaged me. The story is well anchored in reference to Gordon’s job as a cheesemonger. He describes his job through snapshots of his experiences with added insight into his perspective on it all. Occasionally the story slides away from cheese and moves toward his social and political views but those digressions are brief and they to help understand Gordon, the person, better. The book succeeds at capturing Gordon’s wit and good humour. I often found myself smiling at his quips, opinions and observations.

This book provides insight into the cheesemonger profession. Through his story I learned more about cheese, cheese retailing, cheese making and farmers.

I believe this book will appeal to most people working in the cheese industry. It is also a good read for cheese fans and curious bystanders to the cheese industry, like me.

I enjoyed this book.

Do you have any cheese book recommendations for me?

Cheese – A Connoiseur’s Guide to The World’s Best

I bought this book a few years ago and it is a great reference. It has beautiful photography and very nice descriptions of some amazing cheeses. When I went to the Cheese Boutique in Toronto I brought the book along. I explained to one of the staff that I was interested in trying a few of the cheeses that I had read about in the book. They did not carry all of the cheeses featured but they had several. For the ones they did not carry they were familiar enough to make recommendations of cheeses that were very similar. What a great way to experience some amazing cheese!

Now that I’ve identified a few more shops to visit I’ll see if I can try a few more from the book.

As a point of interest, the cheese I most enjoyed from my experiment at the Cheese Boutique was Roaring Forties Blue Cheese from Australia. This cheese is produced at King Island Dairy by cheesemaker Ueli Berger. I’ll explore this specific cheese deeper in a subsequent post. Let’s just say that one cheese alone made it worth the trip.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon.ca.

Cheese – A Connoiseur’s Guide to The World’s Best