Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Origins of Cheese

I think that it's worth recapping on the origins of cheese to understand some of the modern cheese making processes.

[Apparently, prehistoric person was not a complete vegetarian. That took many years of badly prepared meat dishes and the discovery that raw vegetables that did not need to be massacred in boiling water before vegetarianism evolved as a palatable option (along with the abolition of boiled meat).]

Prehistoric person tried to make the maximum use of the animal they killed. In those days, the cow was a staple of their diet and they ate the meat. Used the skin for clothing and used the cows udders as a fashionable hat to protect them from prehistoric rain.

They soon discovered that the cow produced milk and that this was almost edible. To carry the milk as they moved around (for prehistorians were nomadic and moved from country to country in order to avoid prohibitive prehistoric land taxes) they invented the cows stomach which was a naturally non-porous and, provided they tied one end up, was a very useful bag.

As they moved  around the milk became agitated in the cows stomach and turned into what we now call cheese. They instantly realised the stomach was instrumental in the production of this new delicacy and set about finding more efficient means of making cheese.

As we now know, they discovered that force-feeding a donkey cows milk and then getting the most worthless member of the clan to tether the donkey with a string and then stampede it all over the place holding tightly to the donkey to make sure the precious cheese was not lost. They discovered that about one week of continuous stampeding was needed for a semi-hard cheese and two weeks for a hard cheese. They also found that if they  used old donkeys then more mature cheese was made and young donkeys produced much younger cheese. Once the cheese was made they simply cut the donkey's stomach open and removed the cheese.

This explains why in many organic cheese making houses you can see a large number of people tied to donkeys being dragged all over the place as the stampeding donkeys are making cheese. Clearly, in more modern plants cars are filled with milk and stampeded all over the place to produce much larger volumes of cheese.

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