Looks like I need to add this to the shopping list!
“Anthropologist Heather Paxson’s excellent new book, The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America explores the microbiopolitics of cheese production and the macropolitics of culture, economics, and policy of artisanal foods. Through participant observation in small dairy farms in Vermont, Wisconsin, and California, Paxson highlights the work that goes into making and marketing handcrafted, artisanal cheese, a “post-pastoral” and “post-Pasteurian” product that blurs the boundaries between nature and culture, urban and rural, production and consumption, and “itself exemplifies cultured nature, the product of human skill working in concert with the natural agencies of bacteria, yeasts, and molds to transform a fluid made by ruminant animals.”
Handcrafted cheese brings the symbiotic practices of cheesemaking “back to the future,” reintroducing techniques that have been marginalized and largely eliminated during the modernization of industrial agriculture and food production over the past century. Through artisanal cheese, producers and consumers challenge these industrial imperatives, leading to diverse and exuberant cheeses and cheese-consumption.”