American Cheese: An Indulgent Odyssey Through the Artisan Cheese World

Harper Perennial. Oct. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780062934895. pap. $16.99. COOKING
This book is cheesy—quite figuratively so. For Berkowitz (Away with Words), it all started at Murray’s Cheese in New York with Rogue River Blue. This led to a cheese epiphany and Berkowitz’s indulgent odyssey through the artisan cheese world. As he explains, the United States is fairly new to artisanal cheese. The American Cheese Society was founded in 1983, but it wasn’t until 2003 that the nation become known for its award-winning cheese: Rogue River Blue. This odyssey of artisan cheese delves deep, from various animals one might milk to make cheese (including platypus, moose, and whale) to the Cheesemonger Invitational to a journey through California Cheese Trail in Sonoma County. The story comes back around to Rouge River Blue as it wins the top prize in the 2019 World Cheese Awards; the first time an American cheese has won.
VERDICT An entertaining book for cheese lovers, food enthusiasts, and those looking for a fun read. Much like a good ricotta, it is light and airy with a hint of sweetness.
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