Skip to product information
1 of 1

Summer Beam Books

Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America's Most Iconic Cheese Contributor(s): Edgar, Gordon (Author)

Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America's Most Iconic Cheese Contributor(s): Edgar, Gordon (Author)

Regular price $17.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $17.95 USD
Sale Sold out

Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America's Most Iconic Cheese
Contributor(s): Edgar, Gordon (Author)

ISBN: 1603587047    EAN: 9781603587044
US SRP: $17.95 US
Binding: Paperback
Pub Date: April 26, 2017
Physical Info: 0.5" H x 8.7" L x 5.6" W (0.6 lbs) 224 pages

One of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and beloved cheeses in the world, the history of cheddar is a fascinating one. Over the years it has been transformed, from a painstakingly handmade wheel to a rindless, mass-produced block, to a liquefied and emulsified plastic mass untouched by human hands. The Henry Fordism of cheddar production in many ways anticipated the advent of industrial agriculture. They don't call it "American Cheese" for nothing.

Cheddar is one man's picaresque journey to find out what a familiar food can tell us about ourselves. Cheddar may be appreciated in almost all American homes, but the advocates of the traditional wheel versus the processed slice often have very different ideas about food. Since cheddar--with its diversity of manufacturing processes and tastes--is such a large umbrella, it is the perfect food through which to discuss many big food issues that face our society.

More than that, though, cheddar actually holds a key to understanding not only issues surrounding food politics, but also some of the ways we think of our cultural identity. Cheddar, and its offshoots, has something to tell us about this country: the way people rally to certain cheddars but not others; the way they extol or denounce the way others eat it; the role of the commodification of a once-artisan cheese and the effect that has on rural communities. The fact that cheddar is so common that it is often taken for granted means that examining it can lead us to the discovery of usually unspoken truths.

Author Gordon Edgar (Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge) is well equipped to take readers on a tour through the world of cheddar. For more than fifteen years he has worked as an iconoclastic cheesemonger in San Francisco, but his sharp talent for observation and social critique were honed long before then, in the world of 'zines, punk rock, and progressive politics. His fresh perspectives on such a seemingly common topic are as thought provoking as they are entertaining.

Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, and has been combining both of these infatuations as the cheese buyer for San Francisco's Rainbow Grocery Cooperative since 1994. Edgar has been a judge at numerous national cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and has had a blog since 2002, which can be found at www.gordonzola.net. Edgar is the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (Chelsea Green 2010) and he enjoys mold in the right places, good cheese stink, and washing his hands upwards of one hundred times a day.

"On the surface, it would be easy to dismiss a book about a cheese so integral to the gustatory fabric of the American experience that it's hardly noticed as much more than a standard hamburger's melted shroud. But this paean to America's cheese tells the journey of a food integrally linked to the rise of 'cultures' in America (cheese and manufacturing, both) and, no less, to our value system. In Gordon's eminently capable hands, what could be a staid single-subject book is blithely entertaining, peppered with laugh-out-loud, respectful and occasionally irreverent anecdotes, and ultimately a story chock-full of historical and contextual references that come together to create a newfound understanding and respect for a cheese that, because of this essential book, will never be 'just cheddar' again."--Laura Werlin, author of Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials

"From the chief ingredient in Kraft's Mac 'n' Cheese to the quintessential artisan creation, cheddar cheese represents the extremes of American food culture--all delightfully deconstructed and savored in Gordon Edgar's eponymous book. Great reading for aficionados of food and cultural history."--Sally Fallon Morell, president, The Weston A. Price Foundation

View full details