Saturday, February 20, 2016

Please Hold The Assiago

Greatest news ever. Scientists have quit messing around with genomes and cancer and trips to Mars and have finally buckled down to making cheese out of feet bacteria. They're using belly button and armpit bacteria also. Some day we will be able to give our loved ones personal cheese that smells like us. I'd be interested in a cheese that smelled like my own feet, because I haven't been able to get my nose close to my feet since I was ten months old.

They got the idea because some of the stinkiest cheeses contain bacteria that are very similar to armpit and toe bacteria. And they discovered that a cheese made from an individual's feet bacteria would in fact smell like that individual. Many of us do smell like cheese, so it might not be much of a distinction.

You make cheese by conflagellating milk protein until it drops its guard, and then you can bomb it with rennet and bust it up into curds and whey. Rennet is an enzyme found in an animal's stomach, and you pretty much have to kill the animal to scrape the rennet out of it, which is one reason vegans disdain cheese, although another reason is they think milking animals is rude in general. I'm not sure it is. Milking a cow and squirting your little city niece who only wants to see what you're doing in the barn is rude, in my opinion.

You could make a cheese yourself if you had some milk and some stomach scrapings from a deceased cow. The only thing else you'd need is a nice wad of bacteria or mold for flavor. Lucky for you, you have tons of choices here, if you don't soap up much, and aren't a whackadoodle about keeping a clean kitchen. Just rub a cloth between your toes and wipe down the counter once a month or so and wring it out over your milk and dead cow bits. Presto Cheeso.

It is thought that cheese might have been discovered accidentally when someone decided to store milk in an animal stomach, as one does. The oldest preserved cheese ever found was found in China and is over 3600 years old. It was fed to a Norwegian to see what happened. Nothing happened. The Norwegian ate it right up on a cracker and asked if there was any rotting fish to pair it with, and then he took his clothes off and rolled in the snow.

The researchers involved in the Personal Cheese breakthrough first gather their bacterial jam from pertinent personal areas and then identify an individual's personal scent signature using gas chromatography, which means they detain the bacteria in a sealed room and interrogate them until they confess. Progress has been slow. In nearly all higher learning institutions with an active program for concentrating armpit odor, the laboratories have been consigned to the edges of the parking lot, and turnover is fierce. What with the researchers having to whack their way through the throng of bib-wearing Norwegians on a daily basis, most have concluded it just isn't worth it. The remainders have produced acceptable foot cheese and discovered it smells like cheese, and even so, they have difficulty getting published.

It's just as well. I'd be mildly curious to try a cheese made from Dave's footular bacteria. He walks 15 miles a day and most of his bacteria are squashed flat, but even if they could harvest some around the toe intersections, if the cheese smelled like him it wouldn't smell much at all. He is mildly salty. I'm guessing he'd make a decent mozzarella stick and that's about it.

33 comments:

  1. TMI!! I'm sticking to Velveeta, a cheese like product.

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    1. I agree. Velveeta please. Just don't tell me how it's made.

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    2. Officially it is a Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product. Yum!

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  2. I like to think that cheese made from my personal bacterial profile would be porter cheddar, since I adore craft beer. :)

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  3. I am now off cheese for life and I usually liked the smelliest ones. 15 miles a day? Do you see him much?

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    1. No, you are not off cheese for life. You will have some this very week. Dave always makes it home by beer-thirty.

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  4. Speaking for my numerous Norwegian friends, (expletive deleted) you and your cheesy jokes! But I suppose stereotypes exist for some reason.

    Brunost. There's something not to imitate, with any type of bacteria.

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    1. Mom always had a little block of that in the fridge. She didn't have to worry about sharing it with anyone. I love Norwegians.

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  5. As a cheesemaker and a friend, I just don't know what to do with this post.
    BTW, there is vegetarian rennet. I have some in the fridge right now. It's not as trustworthy as regular rennet, but it can be coaxed to get the job done.

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    1. I figgered you'd chime in somewhere! I think you should try making foot cheese. You're not a vegetarian, are you? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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    2. Vegetarian? Me? Ha ha haaaaa!
      I don't eat a lot of meat in public, because I don't care for the treatment of most animals raised for meat. But I'm quite happy to chop the head off a rooster and throw him in the pot for dinner.
      I won't eat my dairy does, though. They'll get proper burials.

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    3. See, that's what I thought. So explain the vegetarian rennet, if it doesn't work quite as well. A cruelty thing? (No wrong answer here.)

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    4. Why do folks buy lite beer? Or fat-free icecream? Or decaf coffee?

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  6. Ew ew ew ew ew.

    That's all I got.

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  7. So the great unwashed are starting a manufacturing project?
    A scary thought. Cheese may become a 'between consenting adults' caper if this takes off.

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  8. You forgot the poking-bits-of-rusty-wire in the cheese.
    Didn't Groucho Marx say:"How come Gruyere has holes when it's the Gorgonzola that needs ventilating?"?

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    1. I don't know, but thank you for putting "Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia" in my head.

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  9. I used to work in a cheese making factory, it was a pretty good job. I think these days artificial rennet is used.
    I have to say, a "personal" cheese, and in particular your idea for making your own, sound rather disgusting. Like the cooffe I've read about where the beans are used AFTER they have passed through the digestive tract of some animal or other. Apparently this "pooh" coffee is highly prized and highly priced.

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    1. I can hardly believe you haven't already read this, but just in case (it's also in Trousering Your Weasel), here you go.

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    2. Thank you. I've been working my way through your archives, but haven't got very far yet as I keep forgetting where I'm up to. Now I remember it's the civet coffee that I read about in newspapers here. And I've just now noticed my "interesting" (wrong!) spelling of coffee (*~*)

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  10. And the town of Tillamook puts your picture in the post office on the board...I just finished off a section of Brillat-Savarin with a hunk of sourdough from Grand Central without a thought to the horrid images that arouse when I read this. Thankfully I'm in that stage where I'm forgetting most things quickly.
    What was your name again, dear?

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    1. For some reason, none of this bothers me. I think foot cheese sounds delicious.

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  11. Insert the sound of me retching here (,,,,,,,)

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  12. Using Safari instead of Firefox was the ticket, thanks to Kay Satnik. Firefox won't let me YouTube either and I am sure my son put some blocks in there that are impeding progress.

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    1. Yay! Does your son have something on youtube he doesn't want you to see?

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  13. I keep a nice brown Norwegian goat cheese in the fridge just for me. No one ever bothers it. I like trying new stinky cheeses when I have a severe head cold. That way I can ease into the transition of eating them in a respectable volume.

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