En vedette

samedi 2 octobre 2010

Say “Cheese” * [anglais]

British Cheese Week has been taking place in Cardiff, Wales between 25th September and 3rd October 2010.

A Welsh cheese “Golden Cenarth” took the ultimate prize – the Supreme Champion Award.

France is the country most people associate with cheese. Charles de Gaulle is quoted as saying: “"No one can bring together a country that has 365 kinds of cheese".

Few people know that the British cheese industry is well developed and offers over 700 types of cheese. According to a blog of the British newspaper, The Guardian, British cheese sales now outstrip the sale of French cheeses in Britain.

Some British cheeses have amusing names, such as “Stinking Bishop”.

Unmatured Caerphilly cheese.(Julia Balbilla/Creative Commons)

Elizabeth Kelly, Gourmet Food Examiner, writes in examiner.com: “While there's no doubt that Stinking Bishop smells strongly, it doesn't completely explain the second part of the name. Why "bishop?" Why not name it Fetid Cardinal or Malodorous Pope instead? Molded into large, rinded wheels, the Gloucestershire cheese is said to have an odor resembling dirty socks and wet towels. The cheese increased in sales by 500% when it was used in a popular animated movie to revive a corpse.” The movie was Wallace and Grommit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

For an interview with the producer of Stinking Bishop, see the videoclip below:


Britain's favourite cheese has always been and still is Cheddar. It gets its name from the Cheddar Caves in Somerset, UK where it was first stored in the 15th Century.

For a history of British cheeses, see: http://www.recipes4us.co.uk/British%20Cheese%20Week.htm

Cheese has been described as “milk’s leap to immortality”. The word cheese comes from the Latin caseus. One legend claims that, several thousand years ago, cheese was discovered by a travelling merchant named Kanana. Setting out on a long trip, Kahana put his supply of milk in a pouch made of sheep’s stomach. The heat and shaking of the pouch on the journey, as well as the rennet in the lining of the stomach, caused the curds in the milk to separate from the whey, and when Kahana sat down to eat his lunch, he found delicious cheese. (Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, R. Hendrickson).

For a serious study of the culture of French cheeses, entitled Le Fromage as Life: French Attitudes and Behavior Toward Cheese, see http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/display.asp?id=7925

This study assesses whether cheese might serve as an appropriate metaphor for French culture. It also investigates the structure of French attitudes toward cheese.

Two books on the subject were published towards the end of 2009. One is entitled Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager, by McCaiman & Gibbons, (ISBN 0307406482). The book includes extensive information on the modern artisanal cheese revolution in the United States and prominently features these artisans and their products alongside the famous cheeses of Italy, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

For French readers, there is Mange ! L'imperatif francais, du mythe à la réalité (2800414642) which deals with French cheeses within the wider context of the French gastronomic culture.

On a linguistic note, mention should be made of English expressions containing the word ‘cheese’:

to be cheesed off – to be upset, annoyed

to cheese it (American) - to look out; to get away fast (often used in the imperative)

to be like chalk and cheese (British) – to be completely different

a big cheese – an important or powerful person

more holes than Swiss cheese- something that is incomplete or lacks many parts

to cut the cheese" — a euphemism for flatulence.

to ride the cheese-wagon (American) – to be transported to school in a yellow bus

cheesy – overblown, inauthentic, of poor quality, shoddy


* Say "cheese" is an instruction used by photographers who want their subject to smile. By saying "cheese", most people form their mouths into what appears to be a smile-like shape. Additionally, the absurdity of saying "cheese" for no apparent reason can incite glee in some people. (Wikipedia)

1 commentaire:

  1. Cute article! But you forgot to mention Cheesheads from Wisconsin - the Dairy Capital of the US (well some say that CA has taken over, but this is only info I have received from a friend in California, not to be taken seriously!)

    And actually here in France with our 365 types of cheese - I was able to get the lady at the Sunday market to try and now regularly offer a farmer's variety of English chedder cheese - she had never heard of it.

    A revolution perhaps?