Say cheese! Book leaves few holes in story of ancient food

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Cheese is far more than something slapped on a sandwich or sprinkled on top of a pizza, according to a new reference book edited by a Vermont professor.

The more than 850 entries in “The Oxford Companion to Cheese,” from Oxford University Press, cover ancient and modern cheesemaking traditions, varieties worldwide, and cultural and historical influences from British comedy troupe Monty Python’s “The Cheese Shop” sketch to cheese shops, museums and even cheese tattoos.

“I think it’s that one encyclopedia we’ve all been waiting for,” said Rob Kaufelt, president and owner of Murray’s Cheese, a vendor in New York.

Editor Catherine Donnelly, a University of Vermont nutrition and food science professor and former co-director of the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, acknowledged that while the intention was to produce the most comprehensive reference book on cheese, the editors had to be selective. As a result, the book isn’t an index of cheesemakers, cheese shops and cheese varieties, of which there are 1,400 worldwide. (The book covers 244.)

“At best this is a starting point, a reference work dedicated to cheese that we hope will be carried forward in future editions,” Donnelly wrote.

Take Robiola di Roccaverano, for example. It’s a small, round Italian cheese produced from goat’s milk, or at least half from goat’s milk, the rest being ewe’s or cow’s milk or a…

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