Cheesy reads

Janet Clapp

One of the delights at Rutland’s farmers market is tasting the various local cheeses. A surprising array of books has been published about this dairy product, including cookbooks, instructional manuals and memoirs of farm life. Here is a delicious sampling of these works.

0504-rhv-bookthecheeseofverThe Cheeses of Vermont: A Gourmet Guide to Vermont’s Artisanal Cheesemakers

by Henry Tewksbury

Tewksbury was employed at the Brattleboro Food Coop: “As part of one of the largest cheese departments in New England, which carries most of the Vermont-made cheeses, it has been my privilege to explore in depth the subtleties of these exquisite products and to deal personally with all the people who make them. I know the cheeses and I know the people.” After a couple chapters about making cheese and Vermont’s leadership in cheese, the book describes various Vermont cheesemakers and cheeses. Because it was written in 2002, a few of the business may no longer exist, but most are still around, like Crowley Cheese Company. Tewksbury discusses cheeses, their source, their flavor (“mellow tartness”), and how each cheese can be used.

0504-rhv-bookthevermontcheeThe Vermont Cheese Book

by Ellen Ecker Ogden

“Making cheese is a basic formula, but Vermont farmers are proving that it requires more than a recipe…Behind every soft-ripened, gently seasoned wedge and every wheel of naturally aged Vermont cheese is a passionate cheesemaker and a farm committed to healthy farming practices and respect for the animals. Vermont cheesemakers have made a commitment to a lifestyle, and the result is award-winning cheese that reflects tradition, dedication, and a sense of place.” Arranged by county, summaries of farms discuss their specialty cheeses, how to visit, and directions for getting there. Newer than Tewksbury’s book, this 2007 publication includes websites for the Vermont locations.

0504-rhv-bookkitchencreamerKitchen Creamery: Making Yogurt, Butter & Cheese at Home

by Louella Hill

A manual for making various dairy products in your own kitchen, this book has step-by-step instructions for a variety of cheeses from cream cheese to mold-ripened cheeses. “You really can make cheese…buy a couple of bottles [of milk] and make a brick of salty feta. Or, take a couple of weeks and land yourself a velvety, truffle-specked Brie…I created this book as a tool for turning your kitchen — whatever size it might be — into a thriving creamery.” A final chapter offers tips on storing, freezing and evaluating cheese.

0504-rhv-bookinacheesemakerIn a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen

by Allison Hooper

Hooper offers this “book about twenty-five years of surviving and thriving in a business doing what we love to do: make cheese for people who love food and love to cook…It is also an opportunity to acknowledge a business partnership that has endured tough times and flourished into a great lifelong friendship.” As cofounder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, she writes about the business and the cheeses it produces. Colorful photographs document tasty-sounding recipes that comprise the bulk of the book.

0504_RHV_BookGreatBallsofCheeseGreat Balls of Cheese

by Michelle Buffardi

Cheese balls are a common appetizer, but some of the decorative foods pictured here, such as “chilly penguin,” are almost too fancy to eat: “the term ‘balls’ is used loosely — cheese can be molded into various shapes, like animals, trees, snowmen, or logs, in varying sizes.” Recipes are divided into savory, such as “nacho cat,” and sweet, such as “triple-chocolate ball.”

0504-rhv-bookyeargoatThe Year of the Goat: 40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese

by Margaret Hathaway

Hathaway and her boyfriend dream of leaving their busy city lives. “At home, Karl and I began to talk seriously about farming and about the possible niches we could find and fill…We both love goat cheese, and the more we talked, the more we found the idea of goats oddly compelling.” But first they need to learn about goats. On a research trip around the country they witness a halal butchering, a convention, dairies, auctions, cheesemaking operations, and goats frolicking in green pastures.

0504_RHV_BookHayFeverHay Fever: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life

by Angela Miller with Ralph Gardner Jr.

While she maintains a job in New York City, Miller and her husband start a cheesemaking business in Vermont. This is the story of Consider Bardwell Farm: “The entire agricultural year — from kidding in April through breeding season in November — was a tumultuous time on Consider Bardwell Farm, though I didn’t anticipate that when I set out to write this book. At that point, I simply knew we were trying to double cheese production and turn a profit, or at least break even.”

The books above and many other “gouda” books about cheese, farming and Vermont are at the Rutland Free Library.

Happy reading!

Janet Clapp

Janet Clapp is an adult services librarian at Rutland Free Library.

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