|Photo by Linda Olle, author of The Upper East Side Cookbook|
I know the holidays are nigh upon us, but if you have a mouse in your life who wants to start a library of cheese books, let me make a few recommendations. These are the books I keep within grabbing reach. They are my Bibles, my inspiration, my everything.
If Ab Fab had featured a cheesemonger, Patricia Michelson would have played the role. She owns a cheese shop in London and has written several books on the subject; her prose is gushy, glorious, and full of observations like this one: “A mild Gouda-type cheese is nourishing first thing in the morning....” Her latest opus is the cheese atlas I have always wanted. Great photos. Great recipes in back.
This reads like a master class on making, tasting, and serving cheese. It is stunning in its girth and in its level of detail. I read this from cover to cover, then kept it on my nightstand and paged through it whenever I couldn’t sleep. This is a great book for anyone who wants to gain a comprehensive understanding of the dairy world right now. I love the suggested pairings (blue cheese and mangoes) , and I find “The Cheddar Lexicon” indispensable.
If you want to stretch yourself, check out recipes for Blue Cheese Cheesecake and Smoked-Gouda Baked Oytsers with Chorizo. This book offers a great mix of recipes and big, juicy photos – though it should really be called the Great Big Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook since many recipes feature Wisconsin cheeses. I got this as a promotion and I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I find myself leafing through it all the time.
If M.F.K. Fisher and Truman Capote had been blood relations, they might have co-authored this quirky little piece of enchantment. It’s charming and strange – a cookbook/faux-memoir recounted by a protagonist named Parsley Cresswell. Parsley is an Audrey Hepburn-type who lives on the cheap despite her tony address. As she observes her caviar-eating neighbors, she whips up “Green Pie” and “Bird’s Nest Bran Muffins.” I have a feeling this will be a cult classic -- an appropriate gift for hipsters and dowagers alike.
This was my first cheese book. It was a great introduction to artisanal cheese -- how to taste it, how to pair it with wine. It’s simple, elegant, and very focused in its subject matter . The photographs are gorgeous, and the prose is clean and precise. I also like the wine pairing guide in the back and turn to it often. Give this to the person who needs a stepping stone into the cheese world.