Author(s): Bronwen Percival; Francis Percival
Wine and Spirits Book of the Year 2017
In little more than a century, the drive towards industrial and intensive farming has altered every aspect of the cheesemaking process, from the bodies of the animals that provide the milk to the science behind the microbial strains that ferment it. Reinventing the Wheel explores what has been lost as expressive, artisanal cheeses that convey a sense of place have given way to the juggernaut of homogeneous factory production.
While Bronwen and Francis Percival lament the decline of farmhouse cheese and reject the consequences of industrialisation, this book 's message is one of optimism. Scientists have only recently begun to reveal the significance of the healthy microbial communities that contribute to the flavour and safety of cheese, while local producers are returning to the cheese-making methods of their parents and grandparents.
This smart, engaging book sheds light on the surprising truths and science behind the dairy industry. Discover how, one experiment at a time, these dynamic communities of researchers and cheesemakers are reinventing the wheel.
An in-depth and fascinating look into the world of cheese and its creators
It covers breeds of cattle (fascinating), farming (harsh but glorious), and the nature of milk and microbes (again, fascinating) ... a marvellous book, dense with data yet never a slog. * The Wall Street Journal * A fascinating timely tale of re-learning how to work with microbes and rescue healthy traditional cheese -- Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London and author of The Diet Myth An insightful and knowledgeable read that highlights the importance of following and not losing ancient traditions in the 21st century. -- Gareth Wyn Jones, author of The Hill Farmer A rich and eye-opening insiders account of the modern cheese world: the anonymous uniformity underlying the apparent bounty of the cheese counter, the near extinction of truly exceptional cheese, and the new scientific appreciation of pre-scientific cheesemaking, with its canny reliance on biodiversity in pastures and cattle and the dairy, which may help bring more distinctive and flavourful cheese to tomorrows's table. -- Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen A heroic study of cheesemaking that is at once scholarly and sensory. Bronwen and Francis Percival dissect the relationships - micro and macro - that give shape to great flavour.' -- Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and author of The Third Plate Reinventing the Wheel is a gift, a careful exploration of our shared history and the tension between progress, modernity, and tradition. Fundamentally, it is a book full of hope, and it is the most exciting food writing I have experienced in years. -- Mateo Kehler, co-founder of Jasper Hill Farm and Cellars at Jasper Hill A cheese love story that's so well told you won't be able to put it down. If you are even half as fascinated by cheese, culinary history, and good stories as I am, this will be the most compelling book you read this year. -- Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses The Percivals take a deep, serious dive into the culinary history, sociology, politics, terroir, microbiology, and how-to of the making and eating of cheese, raw and pasteurized. Both kinds, when done right, can be delicious and safe. This book should convince anyone that the making of wondrous cheeses is a science as well as an art. -- Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health Challenges us to think more deeply about cheese than almost any of us might have imagined possible. Imperative reading for anyone who wants to understand why a small number of cheeses are extraordinary. * The Art of Eating * A brilliant consideration of microbial ecology, the science that is causing a refresh of our view of everything from human health to the health of cows and farmers in the dairy industry. * Wine and Spirits * A book that combines scientific rigor, commercial expertise and passionate connoisseurship. * The Street *
Bronwen Percival is the cheese buyer for Neal's Yard Dairy in London. In addition to working with cheesemakers and the company's maturation team to select and optimise the quality of the cheese they sell, she works to mobilise collaboration between cheesemakers and the scientific community. Bronwen served as an editor for the Oxford Companion to Cheese, winner of the 2017 James Beard Award for Reference & Scholarship. Francis Percival is a food writer and columnist for The World of Fine Wine. His writing won Louis Roederer Best International Wine Columnist in 2013 and Pio Cesare Food & Wine Writer of the Year in 2015. Along with Bronwen, he is a co-founder of the London Gastronomy Seminars.