Thursday, September 23, 2010

What I'm Eating (I Mean Reading)...

It's funny, but sometimes, especially when I'm in the thick of writing one of my stories, it's very refreshing to read some non-fiction, or at least something totally unrelated to the story I'm crafting.

Cue Cheesemonger by Gordon Edgar.

My boss gave me this book to borrow, because, he said, "You're the resident foodie." I started to read a little bit every day on my lunch break and found myself hooked into the story of how a punk rock kid living in the Bay Area found work at a cheese counter and in doing so, a whole new life as a cheesemonger.

Punk rock and cheese? I know, right? They don't seem related, but Gordon brings the two together, talking about culture and agitation and individuality. He also makes some great points about small producer cheese versus factory cheese - about valuing the artisan's work and nourishing your palate in the process. About the need for food and farm workers to have a healthy, safe life. About how people should be adventurous and step away from commercially produced cheddar, jack, and swiss cheeses every once in a while.

Do you guys this this is totally crazy of me to read a book about cheese? Well, I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to read - so it's kind of a good fit for me. And actually, it's a pretty great read. I savored it, cover to cover. (And -- here's a shocker -- it made me hungry for cheese!)

So, what's the most off-beat non-fiction book you've read?


Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen
The Clearing - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Wherever You Go - Harcourt - Fall 2011


TinaFerraro said...

Heather, I love reading nonfiction when I'm in writing or editing. It's like sorbet to cleanse the palate. Sometimes I'll read a celebrity biography, but I have to say that the most random nonfiction book I read was super-long history of Sydney Harbor. It was really entertaining, and took me far away from real life and writer's life.

Thanks for sharing about your cheesemonger!

nymfaux said...

Great post!!!! I am so LOVING this week and talking about all the things you guys are reading!!!!!

And cheese is like the icing on the cake for me!!!! I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and until I left, I never realized how much I took cheese for granted. I thought it would always be there. But everything is different outside of Wisconsin. Back home, I could go to the grocery store and have the same selection of cheese that I could find at a specialty cheese shop. Fresh and aged. Sharp and mild. Smooth or nutty. Spreads and blocks. Cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, swiss, port wine. Smoked cheese, cheese with bacon, with garlic, with herbs, swiss almond, and even jalapeño. We had string cheese, but also ropes of fresh juicy string cheese that you could pull apart and unwind.

And cheese curds. Which are almost indescribable--because when you do try to describe them, people give you funny looks. They are look like solid, slightly misshapen little chunks of cheese. But the best thing about them is that when they're fresh, they're SQUEAKY FRESH! They literally SQUEAK when you take your first bite because they're so juicy and delicious.

And fried cheese curds...You can imagine them like fried mozzarella sticks--but like tiny little fried balls of cheese, hot and oozing and dripping...the two are similar, but not the same.

I may have to find a copy of Cheesemonger myself!!! ;)

As for my own non-fiction tastes--I like celebrity biographies, especially old movie stars and behind the scenes stuff from the golden age of Hollywood. Or true stories that were made into movies--Like Yours, Mine, and Ours was a book called Who Gets the Drumstick?
-Sound of Music was The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.

Oh, and I LOVE Helen Gurley Brown!!! She's fantastic!!!!

stephhale said...

This sounds like a great book, Heather. This is why you are such an interesting person! ;)