From Science Friday: A simple recipe with a lot of variations ... Take some milk, add some bacteria to spoil it. Add some mold, and don't forget to add some rennet, which comes from the stomach lining of livestock, then heat the mixture, drain out some of the liquid, then let it sit around for a few months. Sounds good? Well, maybe if we call it by its popular name, cheese.
The Cheese Chronicles is an insider's look at the burgeoning world of American cheese from one lucky person who has seen more wedges and wheels, visited more cheesemakers, and tasted more delicious (and occasionally stinky) American cheese than anyone else. Liz Thorpe, second in command at New York's renowned Murray's Cheese, has used her notes and conversations from hundreds of tastings spanning nearly a decade to fashion this odyssey through the wonders of American cheese. Offering more than eighty profiles of the best, the most representative, and the most important cheesemakers, Thorpe chronicles American cheesemaking from the brave foodie hobbyists of twenty years ago (who put artisanal cheese on the map) to the carefully cultivated milkers and makers of today.
There's nothing I can say about Kenny Shopsin that hasn't been said better by Calvin Trillin, so I'll point you instead to one of his New Yorker articles here.
And the New York Times did a piece on him about this time last year, here. Macaroni and cheese pancakes, anyone?
And finally, one I've been meaning to get to forever is Jim Harrison's The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand. Again, I'll defer to the Times in their description of Mr. Harrison:
Jim Harrison is not your average foodie. He is no pinkie-in-the-air fusspot who finds delight in taste-testing balsamic vinegar or drizzling sea salt from some distant shore on his blanched asparagus stalks. In this collection of his essays and correspondence, ''The Raw and the Cooked,'' he presents himself as the Yosemite Sam of dining -- a rootin', tootin' culinary combo plate of Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway, Julian Schnabel and Sam Peckinpah. His eats with vigor and writes with unbounded gusto. His enthusiasms are so visceral that readers may put the book down feeling as if they have just been trampled by the bulls at Pamplona.