This dietary staple is so ancient; no one really knows who actually invented it.
We do suspect it goes back as far as 5500 BCE.
It could have started in the Middle East, Europe or central Asia but it seems to have been manufactured and consumed in the European continent prior to the Roman Empire rule. By the time the artistic Italians got hold of it, this operation was already a refined trade.
Like the happy accident that occurred when stone-age man left a flank of raw meat too close to the cook fire and soon began to notice a pleasing aroma as well as a more tender bite, this item could have come to life in the same manner.
Sheep organs may have become its first manufacturing plant. Following the ancient practice of storing food supplies in the durable stomach of an animal, this product might have come into being when contained milk turned to curds and whey by the rennet present in the abdominal membrane.
Even after an unsophisticated beginning, this food product gained momentum through the centuries:
- The French refined it with aged flavors.
- The Greeks made it tart and dry.
- The Italians made virtually reinvented it.
- And Americans, with our Yankee ingenuity, find a way to put it on everything.
We are talking, of course, about cheese.
From the dankest-smelling Limburger to the blandest Jack, there is a cheese out there for every taste, culture and to enhance every meal preparation. Since the topic is so vast, we will emphasize those that provide the most savory and satisfying of flavors for certain preparations.
There is no better cheese on a cold sandwich. Pungent, with an edible rind, this cheese will pep up any turkey and Swiss combination.
Buttery, blue-veined and elegantly spreadable, this is best with a bold red wine and toast rounds.
Mild in flavor with a lovely orange hue, and the perfect melting cheese in an omelet or grilled Panini sandwich.
Mixed with unsalted butter, it is the perfect topping for a grilled rib eye or filet mingon steak.
This important Greek invention spikes up any kind of cold salad: spinach, lettuce, vegetable or grain
A superb crumbly Mexican cheese that will transform refried beans or a cold salad into something memorable.
This is the Cadillac of Cheeses, according to Chef Mario Batali. Once you have had this, there will be no more supermarket dried Parmesan for your pizza or pasta dishes.
Tangy, soft and spreadable, this delightful cheese is wonderful spread on warm artisan bread slice for a quick breakfast. Topped with avocado slices, it is a little bit of heaven that will jumpstart your day.
An excellent choice for the good old USA tradition: the grilled cheese sandwich. Soft, creamy and beautifully meltable. When adorned with crisp, thick-cut, Applewood-smoked bacon strips and a bowl of steaming tomato soup, there is no better comfort food.
Experiment with different cheeses. Not unlike the wine or burgeoning craft beer market, new variations are always being introduced: you will see cheeses infused with wine, fruit, herbs, flowers, honey and any imaginable edible ingredient.
For as old as cheese is, it refuses to stagnate. If anything, cheese is defining a new age as the global world expands, and fortunately for us, will hopefully keep on reinventing itself.