The Whole Fromage-Bookclub Day

Aug 2013
Travel, cheese and France.  It wasn’t hard to decided I wanted in on this month’s book selection from my on line book club, From Left to Write.

Cheese is my downfall, my weakness.  It’s probabaly the one thing that I have control over that elevates some of my numbers {think cholesterol and lbs} to a place they shouldn’t go.  So how could I possible resist  The Whole FromageAdventures in the Delectable world of French Cheese by Kate Lison?
As Kate set out on her journey to learn what makes the French cheese world tick, she visits caves, farms and monasteries, all working hard to keep the traditions of the artisan nature of the product alive.  It was gooey, mouth watering, crumbly and smelly-you could practically taste the page with some of her descriptions.  What I found most interesting however, was the government involvement in the labeling and naming of cheeses.

It got me thinking about our Just Label It campaign over here, and why its so difficult when over 92% of the American population wants to get GMO’s labeled in the foods we eat.  For those of you not familiar, this is a grass roots campaign across the US to have food labeled if they contain Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs. It’s very simple really, and state by state, there has been some progress, but it’s an uphill battle all the way.   More than 60 countries aroound the world have labeling, the US is one of the few that does not.   In France, there is protection on the  side of the consumer and the small artisan maker.  However, just two weeks ago, a high court overturned France’s ban on GMO’s opening the door for Monsanto corn.  The agra business has such a stronghold with arms stretching around the word and politicians are still dragging their feet.

I know it’s a complicated issue, but seeing the passion involved with the cheese makers the author met, from the Roquefort region  and the environmentalist leading the charge to tear down the McDonalds structure to the seasonal Beaufort cheeses, each chapter reflected such a difference in the food philosophy of the two countries.  I read labels constantly when I am shopping; having a better understanding of “The Cheese Mothership” and what goes into the process will now have me looking at cheese labels in a whole new way.  I am sure The Whole Fromage is a book I will keep in my kitchen and refer to for regional cheese information again and again. {and do a little armchair travel along the way!}

This post was inspired by the novel The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison, who traveled to France in search of its artisanal cheeses. Join From Left to Write on August 22 as we discuss The Whole Fromage.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.