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Monday, July 28, 2008

Cheese Day! in Vermont

I took a Cheese course earlier this year for school, it was a two-credit class that met once a week for two months (or so). Every week, Ihsan Gurdal of Fromaggio Kitchen, would bring in 13 different cheeses of a particular theme (goat milk, cow's milk, washed-rind, natural rind, blue, etc) and we'd power through them all trying to learn something about the most peculiar foodstuffs there ever was.

In my life I've never eaten so much damned cheese. I wanted to die at the end of every class (ESPECIALLY at the end of washed-rind week.. UGH) and when you factor in the bread, jams, honeys, and other random condiments we'd eat with the cheese, we all ate roughly 2 POUNDS of cheese (and it's associated foods) every week. That we didn't all keel over and die by the end of week five is a testament to modern medicine and science.

Anyway at the end of the class (along with a long paper about things relating to cheese) we all went to visit a couple of cheese makers (and their goats) up in Vermont to check out how cheese is made and where the deliciousness comes from!

First stop was Twig Farm to meet the its owners Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman. Michael used to work for Ihsan's shop in Boston and, I guess, that's where he got the bug for cheese making (and worship). We all carpooled there in a variety of groups, so while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive we were free to wander around and watch the baby goats play:


They were very cute and friendly, they were climbing and jumping up on everyone who stepped into the pen. I stayed away partly because I'm anti-nature, but also because we had to stay as clean as possible (I figured at least) since we were going to head into the exceptionally clean and sterile cheese making conditions.

We took turns wandering around the farm and were able to watch Michael heat, cut and basically make the cheese up to the point where he poured it into the molds. Afterwards, we followed Emily down to the aging room where she showed us the cheeses in their various stages:


Before long, we had no excuse to not hang out with the goats...


Fun fact: Goats like to rub their heads against your butt... and it feels really good!

I can't even imagine why someone would choose this life. It's an exhausting effort with no guarantee on return, no holidays, sick days or time off. That doesn't even include the massive efforts and equiptment needed to legally produce cheese in the US. I don't know that I'd feel strongly enough about anything to give up a life of relative comfort for such a intensely different life.

My hats off to these intrepid folks, the cheese is great.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hey food bloggers! Call for papers...

What better a place to promote a symposium on food AND the web than on my food-obsessed blog? Sweet harmony! I'd LOVE to see some of you there, especially the local guys!

Foodies on The Web: A Symposium on Food and New Media
January 30 - 31, 2009, Boston University

Many have argued that the Internet and the arrival of Web 2.0 (if there is such a thing) have created new forms of web-based community and interpersonal communications. This has extended into the world of food with the rise of popular food blogs, community-based websites such as Chowhound, Yelp and Citysearch, and other forms of information sharing and collaboration (e.g. YouTube, Wikis, TasteBook, and so forth).

The goal of this symposium is to explore how, if at all, these new technologies have changed the way people eat, cook, share recipes, decide where to have dinner, learn about nutrition, or simply think about food?

Topics of interest include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
§ Blogging
§ Community building tools such as Yelp, Chowhound and Citysearch
§ Online shopping (artisanal products, cooking tools, eBay, etc.)
§ Wikis
§ Web Video: YouTube, How-to's
§ Video, Web-based or other games (Cooking Mama, Diner Dash, Food Fight)
§ Non-digital interactive forms such as interactive installations or museum exhibits

We welcome all perspectives, including:
§ Explorations or critiques of the above technologies or tools
§ Discussions of legitimacy and authority around the question, who gets to write about food?
§ What is the role of a restaurant critic and food writer in the age of the web?
§ Historical perspectives in terms of how these new forms of communication fit with or extend from more traditional forms: recipe books, restaurant criticism, newspaper columns, food TV, etc?
§ Discussion of the ways these developments are seen as a threat to "traditional" media (i.e. TV, magazines and newspapers) and to "traditional" trades (i.e. restaurant critic, recipe writer, food writer, etc)


Procedures for Submitting Abstracts for Papers

Due Date: September 15th, 2008

All proposals should include:
§ Title
§ Submitter's name, organizational affiliation, telephone number, email and mailing address
§ Abstract of 250 - 500 words that describes the proposed paper.
§ Submitter's CV

All paper proposals should be submitted to the Boston University's Gastronomy Department via email to the following email address: gastrmla@bu.edu. Abstracts should be sent as Microsoft Word attachment, if possible.

All proposals sent by e-mail will be acknowledged within one week of receipt. Notification of the status of proposals will be sent by September 30, 2008.

Speakers will be responsible for their own travel and lodging. Any registration fees will be waived for speakers.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Excuses

I've been totally slack lately in getting up some blog posts. There's really no excuse for it, but if there WAS, I'd submit the following:

- Summer school is a lot more time consuming than I had originally thought
- I was totally slammed at work and needed to get loads of things done before I left for a week
- I spent a week in France and an internet connection in the hotel was far too expensive
- I'm really lazy and procrastinate constantly (in fact, I'm avoiding writing a paper to write this short blog post!)

So, there you have it. Is it good enough? No, but I'll get something up soon about the trip to France, the meal at Guy Savoy in Paris, the upcoming birthday meal at a fabulous (I hope!) restaurant in Boston, and the fabulous food I've been cooking up in my kitchen thanks to my wonderful CSA.

Patience is a virtue, gluttony is a sin. I'm 0 for 2. Damn!