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New cheese book: 'American Cheeses'

December 26, 2008 | 11:08 am

CheesesA new cheese book hit the shelves this month -- "American Cheeses: The Best Regional, Artisan, and Farmhouse Cheeses, Who Makes Them and Where to Find Them" by Clark Wolf, restaurant consultant and former manager of the San Francisco branch of the Oakville Grocery.

Just reading about cheese is mouthwatering ... "buttery and creamy cheddar," soft-ripened cheeses that become "oozing heaven." But in this book, there's less cheese description (for that, check out "The Cheese Lover's Companion") than there are histories of American cheese makers and their cheeses: how the Wabash Cannonball was born; chèvres named for the tragic lovers Evangeline and Gabriel from Longfellow's poem; the beginnings of the Cabot Creamery cooperative.

It's sort of like a hardcover version of "The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese" by Jeffrey Roberts that was published last year; both "Atlas" and "American Cheeses" are divided into regions and cheese makers; their contact information and their cheeses are listed within each region.

But "American Cheeses" includes recipes, many contributed by a smattering of chefs: Laurent Tourondel's cheddar-and-chive biscuits, Marcus Samuelsson's black-pepper cheesecake and John Folse's macaroni and cheese with crawfish. Folse is the cheese maker at Bittersweet Plantation Dairy, which is near Baton Rouge -- hence the crawfish.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Simon & Schuster