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1/20/22 Thursday OT: Cheddar

NATIONAL CHEESE LOVER’S DAY

On National Cheese Lover’s Day, don’t feel bleu, throw a feta or act capriciously. January 20th is a gouda day to kummin over and have some cheddar or asiago or fontina!

There is no firm evidence of how humans discovered cheese making. But legend tells us it was likely that someone created the first cheese by chance. Thousands of years ago, people transported milk and stored it in sheep’s stomachs. Left to sit a few days, the proteins would separate into curds and whey. From there, preserving the solids with salt may have seemed a logical next step. Salt was a highly valued preservative in ancient times.

The earliest record of cheese making dates back to 5,500 BCE in what is now Poland. Today there are over 1,400 varieties of cheese.

Basic Cheese Making

The basic principles behind making cheese are quite simple. Let the milk sour (or scientifically, coagulating the casein protein). Then separate the curds (solids) from the whey (liquid). The curds are then salted and left to age.

Bacteria, enzymes, or fungi may be added at various stages. These and the type of milk, temperature, time, and moisture are all controlled to produce the desired taste, color, and texture. Cheesemakers also add herbs and spices for additional variety and flavor.

The nutritional value of cheese varies depending on the variety. Cottage and mozzarella cheese are at the lower end of fat and calories per serving, while mascarpone and cream cheese pack it on. Marscapone makes desserts like tiramisu rich and creamy.

For the Love of Cheese

For cheese lovers who think one day is just not enough to celebrate cheese, National Day Calendar presents a calendar full of cheesy celebrations. There are 18 other cheese-specific holidays on the calendar. Check out this shortlist of tasty cheese-based celebrations: