Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge: by Pete Mulvihill

Don’t forget: the book mentioned below is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount (if ordering online, just write “tablehopper” in the order comment field—when they process the order, you’ll get your discount).

In this month’s Bookworm, let’s take a look at local culture, of sorts. Gordon Edgar, the cheese guy at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, has written a memoir entitled Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (published by Vermont’s Chelsea Green Publishing). And there the puns will end, I promise.

The book starts as straight memoir: how Gordon got his job at Rainbow, how he learned his trade, and so on. Through his story, you quickly get a sense of who he is—there’s some punk in Gordon, certainly, and the requisite lefty NorCal politics.

He then looks at how cheese is made. While this gets a bit technical at times, it’s always written with personality, i.e. it’s an “easy read,” even when discussing more scientific stuff. He then looks at cheesemaking facilities, American food policies, the ethics of milk production, etc. Throughout the book, Gordon’s politics and attitude are more fun diversion than distraction.

This is more memoir than cheese guide, but there’s plenty of helpful information for the cheese-curious, too: at the end of each chapter are footnotes, of a sort, that explain in more depth each cheese mentioned in the previous chapter, including price, origin, where to find it, etc. Cheesemonger is, above all, a personable look into the world of cheese completely without pretense. There’s attitude, sure, but not pretense.

Support your local cheesemonger (and your local indie bookstores), and treat yourself to a copy today. For, in the words of Monty Python, “blessed are the cheesemakers.”

Thanks for reading.