This weekend is the fourth annual Pike Place Market Cheese Festival, where you can learn how to make cheese at home, taste artisanal cheeses from all around the world and listen to cheese experts extol the virtues of cheese in all its stinky, delicious variety. I hope you have a good time. I won’t be there. I’ll be at the library (someone has to keep the place open!), but I might be reading a cheesy book.
There’s no problem finding children’s books about cheese. There’s The Mysterious Cheese Thief by the aptly named Geronimo Stilton, The Cheese by Margie Palatini, in which the question “why does the cheese stand alone”? gets answered, and the classic Anatole by Eve Titus, in which a mouse becomes a connoisseur of fine French cheeses. And for the younger set there is also a book suitable for an election year: A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar by Candace Fleming. No matter who becomes our next Big Cheese, kids can still enjoy this book set in the time of Jefferson’s presidency.
Edward Trencom’s Nose: A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese by Giles Milton. The publisher calls this book a “comic thriller,” and for once I believe them. There’s murder, international intrigue and lots of funny stuff amongst cheese fanciers.
The Mammoth Cheese by Sheri Holman. This book has its share of weirdness, beginning as it does with the birth of 11 premature babies to one woman, and moving on to a re-creation of that giant wheel of cheddar that was presented to Thomas Jefferson. Offbeat, sure, but guaranteed to amuse. You’ll even meet some cows.
And finally, there is Cheese by William Elsschot, a Dutch author. This is an older title, published in 1933. It’s the story of a middle-aged salesman trying to unload 10,000 wheels of Edam cheese, which turns into a farce, natch. What is it about cheese and humor, I wonder?
For myself, I am going to set out a plate of Manchego and membrillo, and settle down with Moo by Jane Smiley, surely one of the funniest books on the planet, even though it’s not cows with the best walk-on role, but a hog named Earl Butz. Have fun reading! ~ Beth