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Saturday, 22 March 2014



Cheese is the oldest man made food and was first made in the Middle East. The discovery of cheese was probably accidental; probably a herdsman pouring milk into a pouch made from an unweaned animal’s stomach would have noticed that milk-curdling enzymes, which are found in the stomachs of unweaned animals, had separated the milk into a watery greenish-yellow liquid (whey), and solids (curds).

The earliest cheeses would have been sour and salty, similar in texture to rustic cottage cheese or present-day feta.

The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians made cheese from cow and goat’s milk and stored it in tall jars. It was made wherever animals produced more milk than people could use in fluid form. The method used was letting the milk curdle, then beating it with branches, pressing it on stones, drying it in the sun, and sprinkling it with salt.

The word 'cheese' occurs only twice in the King James Bible (in 2 Samuel 17 and Job 10) and ‘cheeses’ occurs once (1 Samuel 17). The latter tells us how when a Hebrew shepherd boy called David was sent by his father to present ten cheeses to the captain of the army, he volunteered to do battle with the Philistines' champion Goliath.

Cheese was a popular food item in Ancient Greece. The people were so fond of goats or ewes’ cheese that they rewarded their children with it as others might give them candy. "Little cheese" was a special term of endearment.

Every market in Greece sold cheeses to those who couldn't make their own. The popular fresh white Greek cheeses were flavoured with herbs and spices and baked into all manner of cakes and pies.

The Domesday book, a summary of William the Conqueror's survey of England, mentioned Britain's first named cheese, Cheshire cheese.

King Henry II popularised cheddar cheese, hard cow's-milk cheese, by declaring it the best in England.

"Big cheese" and "big wheel" were Medieval terms of envious respect for those who could afford to buy whole wheels of cheese at a time, an expense few could enjoy. Both these terms are often used sarcastically today.

Monks first made Wensleydale cheese in the 14th century.

Roquefort is a sheep milk blue cheese from the south of France. King Charles VI granted a monopoly for the ripening of Roquefort cheese to the people of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon on June 4, 1411, as they had been producing it for centuries.

Roquefort cheese

The first single-subject food book that was ever printed, 1477's  Summa Lacticiniorum was written on the subject of cheese.

The cheese grater was invented by Francois Boullier in France in the 1540s.

Cheese fondue is said to have originated in the Gourmet Room of the Schweizerhof in Luzern, Switzerland.

The earliest records of Cheese Fondue goes back to a publication in 1699 that calls for grated cheese to be melted with wine, and for bread to be dipped in it.

In 1813, Camembert cheese was made an honorary citizen of the town of Caen in Normandy.

The world's first commercial cheese factory opened in Switzerland in 1815.

In 1839, English farmers prepared a half-ton block of cheddar cheese for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a wedding gift.

The first cheese factory to make cheese from scratch was started in Rome, New York in 1851 by Jesse Williams. He combined the milk from various dairy herds including his own to make one large cheese with unvaried taste and texture so he could manufacture large quantities. Other smaller companies used smaller batches of home made cheese curd to produce cheeses with wide differences in taste and texture from one another.

New York dairyman William Lawrence accidentally invented cream cheese in 1872 while trying to recreate a soft French cheese called Neufchatel. Created in Chester, New York, it was christened Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The "Philadelphia" part of the name was a marketing move to tie the product with the city known at the time for quality cream cheese.

The first film to be censored in the UK was Charles Urban's 90 second film of a piece of Stilton cheese viewed through a microscope. Released in 1898 the image of active bacteria on the cheese created a storm of protest from British cheese makers so it was quietly withdrawn from exhibition.

It was not until World War II that factory-made cheese overtook traditional cheese making.

The Wensleydale Cheese Company came close to shutting down in 1990, and was only saved when Wallace, from Wallace and Gromit, named it his favorite brand. The show’s creator, Nick Park, didn’t even know of the company’s struggles, but after joining forces, its sales improved rapidly.


Cheesy, meaning bad, is a late 1800's term stemming from the bad smell of some cheeses.

A study by the British Cheese Board in 2005 to determine the effect of cheese upon sleep and dreaming discovered that, contrary to the idea that cheese commonly causes nightmares, the effect of cheese upon sleep was positive.

There are many types of cheese, with around 500 different varieties recognized by the International Dairy Federation.

Cheese is the most stolen food item in the world. The dairy item's loss percentage (3.9%) is more than three times the global average (1.29%).

When digested, cheese releases casomorphin, a compound that stimulates fat intake, slows digestion, and may even have a narcotic effect.

Cheese closes the stomach and should always be served at the end of a meal.

When Swiss cheese ferments, a bacterial action generates gas. As the gas is liberated, it bubbles through the cheese leaving holes. Cheese-makers call them "eyes."

Casu marzu is a Sardinian cheese that contains live maggots.

The reason that pre-grated cheese doesn't clump together in the pack is that they add wood pulp.

Richard Nixon liked ketchup on his cottage cheese.

Eight pints of milk are needed to make 1lb of Cheddar cheese.

The patron saint of cheesemongers (or more specifically of Florentine cheese merchants) is St Bartholomew the Apostle.

To be called ‘Stilton’, the cheese must be made in Derbyshire, Leicestershire or Nottinghamshire.. Since the village of Stilton is in Cambridgeshire, cheese made in Stilton may not be called ‘Stilton’.

Kraft singles (processed cheese) cannot be advertised as cheese in the US because FDA standards states a food can only be identified as a cheese if it contains 'at least 51% real cheese'.

Soft, creamy ricotta, used in lasagna, manicotti and Italian cheesecake, is made from the whey left over from cheese making. Technically, ricotta isn't a "cheese," it's a dairy by-product. Its name comes from the Italian for "recooked."

String cheese is made by heating mozzarella to 60 °C which causes the milk proteins to line up. They can then be peeled off in strings.

Most cheeses are not vegetarian because they contain an ingredient (rennet) that is usually made from animal stomachs.

Vegan cheese first became available in the 1980s. It can be made from ingredients like seeds, nuts, nutritional yeast, or tapioca, but food scientists are still working on how to make vegan cheeses that melts and stretches like the real thing.

The most expensive cheese in the world is made in Serbia from donkey milk and is called Pule. It costs about $600 per pound, Pule's high price being because of its rarity. There are only about 100 jennies in the landrace of Balkan donkeys that are milked for pule-making.

U.S. per capita cheese consumption is about 34 pounds per person—that’s more than one full ton of cheese during the average lifetime.

White People in the US purchase more than twice the cheese per capita than Black or Asian people.

Mozzarella cheese is the biggest-selling cheese variety in the U.S., followed by Cheddar.

America's "big 4" rival pizza chains - Domino's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesars - all but their cheese from the same man: James Leprino. He sells one billion pounds of cheese each year.

Pizza Hut accounts for 3 percent of all U.S. cheese production.

Blur’s bassist Alex James has his own cheese farm and is an award-winning cheesemaker.

240 of the 450 cheeses in the entire world come from France.

The French eat the most cheese, putting away an average of 57 pounds per person a year.

In 2013, nine babies born in the UK were named Cheese.

Here is a list of songs with cheese in the title

Sources Daily Express, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce, Fox News

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