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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

Globe and Mail review of The Oxford Companion to Cheese

The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, has published my favorite review of The Oxford Companion to Cheese to date. It begins with the above picture of a man's armpit and cheese tattoo, and only gets weirder from there. I'm not entirely convinced its author, Ian Brown, actually likes cheese - this paragraph in particular raises doubts:

In other words, there is a distinct lacto-cannibalistic element to eating cheese, which then returns to the ecosystem (though not always easily, given the constipation and even obstipation challenges cheese can pose) to help grow the forage eaten by cows and sheep and goats and moose to make more cheese. This sense of eternal intestinal return is only enhanced by the barnyard pong of many cheeses. Somehow, eating cheese is satisfying (or disgusting) because, in addition to its other pleasures, it always feels a little like eating your own brain.

Is my enjoyment of cheese really tied up with self-cannibalistic tendencies? Maybe! What is clear though is that Ian loved our book, his review is well-researched, and he doesn't just copy the same talking points as every other reviewer (mostly just distilling the jacket copy). And, frankly, I have a soft spot for any review that favorably compares our cheese encyclopedia to Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, or Chic Scott’s Summits & Icefields: Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies. Those were precisely the comp titles I had in mind when I was writing the proposal for this book back in 2011.

Ian's description of Cathy is equally priceless: "For her own part, Donnelly is a world expert on listeriosis, the author of Cheese and Microbes, and, judging from the photo on the book jacket, a non-depressive cheese eater who leans to pearls and peppy pink pants." Spot on.

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