Don’t feel bleu, throw a feta or act capricious. January 20th is a gouda day to kummin over and have some cheddar or asiago or fontina! It’s National Cheese Lover’s Day.
There is no firm evidence on how cheese making was discovered, but legend tells us it was likely chance that the first cheese was created. Thousands of years ago, milk was transported and stored in sheep 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.
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 along with the type of milk, temperature, time and moisture are all controlled to produced the desired taste, color and texture. Herbs and spices may also be added.
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.
For cheese lovers who think one day is just not enough to celebrate cheese, National Day Calendar has you covered for the entire year. There are 18 other cheese specific holidays on the calendar from National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5) and National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (April 12) to Cheese Souffle Day (May 18),National Cheese Day (June 4) and Moldy Cheese Day (October 9). Let’s also not forget; cheese makes excellent desserts. National Cheesecake Day is July 30, and there are three other flavors on the calendar along with National Cream Cheese Brownie Day just around the corner on February 10.
By celebrating National Goat Cheese Month in August, cheese lovers can celebrate 10 out of 12 months of the year. The last two months of the year do not celebrate cheese specifically but cheese there will be! National Nacho Day (November 6) just isn’t the same without the queso. On National Sangria Day (December 20), cheese lovers will enjoy serving a variety of cheeses with all their guests!
From Foodimentary.com: Here are Five Food Finds about Cheese:
Cheeses are more flavorful at room temperature. Let them stand for a half hour before serving.
Cheese is an ancient food whose origins predate recorded history.
Artisan cheese, made in small batches from local sources, is growing at a pace that exceeds even the growth rate of general cheese consumption in America.
Some studies claim that cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and American cheeses can help to prevent tooth decay.
A study by the British Cheese Board in 2005 showed cheese has positive effects on sleep, not nightmares as Ebeneser Scrooge seemed to think.