Get The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America PDF

By Heather Paxson

ISBN-10: 0520270185

ISBN-13: 9780520270183

Cheese is alive, and alive with which means. Heather Paxson's superbly written anthropological examine of yank artisanal cheesemaking tells the tale of ways craftwork has develop into a brand new resource of cultural and fiscal worth for manufacturers in addition to shoppers. Dairy farmers and artisans inhabit a global within which their colleagues and collaborators are a wild forged of characters, together with vegetation, animals, microorganisms, kin, staff, and buyers. As "unfinished" commodities, dwelling items whose traits will not be totally settled, hand-crafted cheeses embrace a mixture of new and previous rules approximately style and price. by means of exploring the lifetime of cheese, Paxson is helping reconsider the politics of meals, land, and exertions at the present time.

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Sample text

S. dollar exchanged at a higher rate than the euro occurred in the fall of 2002, just as Jasper Hill and so many other domestic cheese producers were preparing to enter the market. The weak dollar of the past decade brought the price of European cheeses, generously subsidized by state governments, up to the range of American prices. When European cheeses are not the comparative bargain they once were, a retailer confirmed, even the most Europhilic consumers are more willing to take a chance on American cheeses.

In order to produce the milk that will become cheese, ewes must first get pregnant and give birth. Behind cheese lie animal genealogies and the logistics of breeding, the management of sex ratios through the slaughter of young males for meat, and the daily routines of pasturing and milking. Artisanal cheese may be made largely by hand, but humans do not make it alone: ruminant animals, herding and guard dogs, and bacteria, yeasts, and molds also contribute. Understanding how cheese is made entails grasping its full production, by which I mean assemblages of value-making activities held together by historical, economic, social, and regulatory forces.

While some cheesemakers describe distinctive relations among land, climate, cheese type, and flavor, others work in a more avowedly constructivist and, indeed, American, register, invoking terroir to speak to the instrumental values of artisanal production. To many, artisanal cheese has the potential to revitalize agricultural landscapes, reinvigorate rural economies, and even create new places. Through the vocabulary of terroir, producers seek to concretize their visions of the value of handcrafted—and handcrafting—cheese.

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The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America (California Studies in Food and Culture) by Heather Paxson


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