On the Formaggio Kitchen blog, Andrew Clark has a great post about the challenges of talking about cheese and the ways in which metaphors and language play a role in the daily lives of cheesemongers and food lovers alike. (Pictured above is Harbison, a cheese likely to inspire some creatively loving descriptors):
Not long ago, a fellow cheesemonger and I were talking about the way we describe food – specifically, in selling cheese to our customers. “Like ‘nutty,’” she said. “Nuts really have nothing to do with the production of cheese.”
Why do I think of the flavor of sesame seeds when I taste Moses Sleeper, from Jasper Hill Farm, in Vermont? Why Brazil nuts with a recent Taleggio or pistachio when tasting Caprotto? Why do we describe specific tastes, or hints of taste, with things that are most certainly uncheese-like? Because these metaphors help people understand what to expect from a cheese.
Selling cheese over the years has allowed me to work with many interesting people – people with plenty of wonderful and almost poetic taste metaphors. Here are a few of the gems I have heard:
• Lincolnshire Poacher: “pineapple upside down cake”
• Ekiola Ardi Gasna Fermier: “salted caramel”
• Bayrischer Blauschimmelkase: “sitting temperature salt & pepper ice cream”
• Försterkäse Krümmenswil: “melted leather”
• Winnimere: “hot dog”
• Beringse Gouda: “fresh, buttered South Carolina biscuits”
Perhaps metaphor is the best way we can share our very personal taste experiences with each other? This is more or less the essence of poetry, a most cherished and beautiful form of the written word, a tool we use to tell others how we experience the world.
Read the full piece here, including forays into the works of Rimbaud and Whitman:
Cheesemonger, or frustrated emo poet?