Friday, March 09, 2012

Cheese Season.

 The lucky few who live close to an artisan cheese producer may have access to it, but for most of us, seasonal cheese is an intriguing phantom. Once upon a time there was a seasonal treat known as aftermath cheese. The ‘aftermath’ was ‘a second crop or new growth of grass (or occas. another plant used as feed) after the first has been mown or harvested’, hence, aftermath cheese was ‘cheese made from the milk of cows fed on the aftermath.’ 

The cheese was also sometimes called ‘edish’ cheese, ‘edish’ being a corruption of an old word for ‘a park or enclosed pasture for cattle; or a stubble field.’ The eddish-aftermath cheese is said to have been particularly rich, which makes its loss the greater, I think.

The cheese was mentioned in Gervase Markham’s English House-wife, in 1631, and there are references to it until late in the nineteenth century. The references then seem to slip into the past tense, which says a lot, all of which is sad.

There are, I am sure, only three (maximum) degrees of separation between one food story and the next, and today’s offering connects with yesterday’s on food-combining, if you wish. I read somewhere in a Victorian book of dining ‘rules’ that one should never mix fish with cheese. As with the rules given yesterday, there was no explanation given, but I admit it has mystified me ever since.
I give you a recipe from an unusual source. It is not announced as recipe, but is hidden in the text of an article in The Popular Science Monthly, of March 1884. By another fine example of minimal degrees of separation, the same publication gives us the quotation for the day.

Recipe for the Day.
I might enumerate other methods of cooking cheese by thus adding it in a finely divided state to other kinds of food, but if I were to express my own convictions on the subject I should stir up prejudice by naming some mixtures which some people would denounce. As an example, I may refer to a dish which I invented more than twenty years ago – viz., fish and cheese pudding, made by taking the remains from a dish of boiled codfish, haddock, or other white fish, mashing it with bread-crumbs, grated cheese, and ketchup, then warming in an oven and serving after the usual manner of scalloped fish. Any remains of oyster-sauce may be advantageously included.

Quotation for the Day.

Peas pudding is not improved by cheese.
The Popular Science Monthly, March 1884

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