A Cheesemonger’s History of The British Isles
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‘A beautifully textured tour around the cheeseboard’ Simon Garfield
‘Full of flavour’ Sunday Times
‘A delightful and informative romp … a fine Christmas present, along with a wedge of Sparkenhoe Red Leicester’ Bee Wilson, Guardian
‘His encounters with modern-day practitioners fizz with infectious delight’
John Walsh, Sunday Times
Shortlisted for the Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards for 2020
Every cheese tells a story. Whether it’s a fresh young goat’s cheese or a big, beefy eighteen-month-old Cheddar, each variety holds the history of the people who first made it, from the builders of Stonehenge to medieval monks, from the Stilton-makers of the eighteenth-century to the factory cheesemakers of the Second World War.
Cheesemonger Ned Palmer takes us on a delicious journey across Britain and Ireland and through time to uncover the histories of beloved old favourites like Cheddar and Wensleydale and fresh innovations like the Irish Cashel Blue or the rambunctious Renegade Monk. Along the way we learn the craft and culture of cheesemaking from the eccentric and engaging characters who have revived and reinvented farmhouse and artisan traditions. And we get to know the major cheese styles – the blues, washed rinds, semi-softs and, unique to the British Isles, the territorials – and discover how best to enjoy them, on a cheeseboard with a glass of Riesling, or as a Welsh rarebit alongside a pint of Pale Ale.
This is a cheesemonger’s odyssey, a celebration of history, innovation and taste – and the book all cheese and history lovers will want to devour this Christmas.
A delightful and informative romp through centuries of British cheesemaking … it would make a fine Christmas present, along with a wedge of Sparkenhoe red leicester — Bee Wilson * Guardian * Palmer writes with pace and passion, and his encounters with modern-day practitioners fizz with infectious delight … Full of flavour * Sunday Times * Part history, part travelogue and part tasting menu … an utter delight, rousing, infectiously impassioned and inspiring * Stephanie Sy-Quia, The Spectator * We are taught in school that history is about kings and queens and posh people sitting on horses, but Ned Palmer teaches us that in fact, correctly understood, history is mainly about cheese. I hugely enjoyed his engaging, learned, funny, surprising book. Palmer wears his extraordinary range of knowledge lightly, but he is serious too. His book is history from below, from the perspective of daily life; it talks about the food and the life and the needs of unfamous people. A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles is the best kind of social history, the kind you can eat — John Lanchester A beautifully textured tour around the cheeseboard. — Simon Garfield A fabulous, fascinating Cheese Odyssey.Following the history of cheese from its neolithic beginnings right up to the modern day, Ned takes you on an entrancing journey through cheese and British history itself, meeting dozens of dedicated cheesemaker’s along the way. Ned Palmer is a erudite, charming guide to all things cheese – and his book will make you want to eat nothing but cheese all day long. — Kate Williams, Historian and broadcaster As an author of historical fiction, I was impressed by Ned’s command of history but also delighted by his light, fluid and professional writing style – which was, in turn, funny, fascinating, and sometimes even profound. From Medieval monastic cheese-making to the horrors of the Milk Marketing Board, Ned charts a gripping and often mouth-watering course through the culture behind bacterial cultures. He has the true food-writer’s gift of inspiring wild cravings in the reader. Reading late into the night, I constantly had to fight the urge to raid the cheese box in the fridge. Not always successfully. This book is a triumphant paean to the fine art of cheese-making, past and present, and a must-buy for anyone who appreciates good food – and good history. A truly cheese-mongous achievement! — Angus Donald, author of The Outlaw Chronicles and the Blood series Palmer’s writing is loquacious; it is as if he has leant across the counter to regale you with tales of when he was a ‘younger monger’. His history is an utter delight, rousing, infectiously impassioned and inspiring of pride * Spectator * Palmer is both a cheesemonger and a cheese historian – encyclopedic, forensic and geekily obsessed with the stuff. He writes in a jolly patter: warm, wry and deliciously digressive. — Wendell Steavenson * Financial Times * Ripe with fascinating facts and anecdotes * Sunday Telegraph *
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