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Cheese Primer

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  329 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Steven Jenkins is our foremost cheese authority--in the words of The New York Times, "a Broadway impresario whose hit is food." Now, after years of importing cheeses, scouring the cheese-producing areas of the world, and setting up cheese counters at gourmet food shops, he's decided to write it all down. Full of passion, knowledge, and an expert's considered opinions the c ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Workman Publishing Company
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(showing 1-30 of 607)
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Nov 05, 2015 Marilee rated it really liked it
I'm craving some stinky authentic cheese… but given that this book was written some years ago, I wonder, given new regulations, whether any is available in the USA anymore. I guess I'll have to book a trip to Europe soon, as un-pasturized milk cheese is not allowed into the USA.

Full disclosure… a number of years ago I smuggled a beautiful un-pasturized full wheel of "real" Brie de Meaux AOC into the USA, in my carry on luggage. I can't believe it wasn't smelt or discovered. But that was before
Patrick Pants
Apr 29, 2009 Patrick Pants rated it liked it
This is a great intro to old world cheeses. It is well put together and contains tons of useful little factoids that one would need to put together a cheese plate or even give a brief history of the big name European cheeses. Unfortunately, since this book was published, some of the info on availability in the US is out of date and there is certainly a lack of important North American cheeses. Would be nice to see Steve Jenkins do another edition of the Primer.
Aug 23, 2016 Wade added it
Shelves: reference, food
An encyclopedia of cheeses presented by geographical country and region, with helpful pronunciation guides, descriptions of each cheese, and tips on selecting a primer specimen of each type. Includes a few recipes, but also will guide which foods and wines complement each cheese. Best for those that are able to travel to Europe because (as the author laments ad nauseum) raw milk, i.e., unpasteurized, cheeses aged for less than 60 days may not be legally imported to the United States. As the auth ...more
Apr 30, 2008 Megan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: crazy people who like cheese
Shelves: own
Ok, I haven't read every word of this page-turner...because it's about cheese. And it's not really a page-turner, in case you didn't catch the sarcasm. But I like cheese, and I like reading about cheese sometimes, and thinking about it, and, you know, eating it and stuff, so this is a pretty good book for me. Also, the author is from Columbia, MO, which is where I went to university, and talks about the ice cream I used to eat there! My biggest complaint is that he lists all of these supposedly ...more
Tim Murray
Jul 03, 2015 Tim Murray rated it it was amazing
I think that any book that gives you exactly what it says on the front cover has to earn 5 stars. If you want to learn everything there is to know about cheese then get this book. For everyone else, this isn't exactly a great bedtime storybook.
Oct 01, 2007 Jena rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: cheese lovers
Honestly . . . I'm not a big fan of the taleggio. And I know that's Mr. Jenkins' favorite and all . . . but I tasted nothing special and it didn't really stand out as cheeses I loved. And he's REALLY snobby - don't get me wrong - he has credential but some people just have personal preferences and different levels of acceptance. I love a fine Idiazabal or Pecorino Toscano, but I'll never turn down blue box Kraft Mac N' Cheese. period.
Oct 19, 2009 Cherie rated it really liked it
Steven Jenkins loves cheese. He also loves to teach you about cheese. His writing occasionally sounds like "cheese nerd" talk. ("So, in a battle of sharpness, would a sharp Swiss beat a sharp Cheddar? What if both were organic and aged for the same time?") Okay, maybe not that nerdy, but it's pretty nerdy. In a good way.
Oct 02, 2007 Jene rated it really liked it
Ok, so I didn't read this cover to cover, but I read a lot of it and it made my mouth water. Now I want to travel the world and try all the obscure smelly cheeses out there. It's a fun read for anyone who loves books on food. The author is very unpretentious and seems to give a very honest opinion on the subject.
Aug 01, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I first started to delve into cheesemaking and before we started milking our goats. It introduced me to the idea of the seasonality of cheeses and how what the creatures are eating and when impacts the qualities of a cheese as well as many other cheese wonders.
Aug 22, 2008 Julia rated it really liked it
When I was living in France, I used to copy the pages of different regions I would be visiting. I have been classified a cheese lover ever since my best friend and I, at age 3, snuck into the kitchen and ate an entire package of cream cheese during our first overnight together.
Jan 25, 2012 Beth rated it liked it
Extremely detailed descriptions of cheese broken down by region. It would have been nice for some color photographs like in The Cheese Bible, but if I ever want to be a snooty cheese and wine connoisseur this would be the book I would need to know what I was talking about.
christina white
Apr 04, 2007 christina white rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Very thorough, very expansive information on cheese. Well - written so that it is infused with the author's passion for his subject. Makes you want to travel the world eating cheese! A travel agent out there should get on the stick and design a tour!
Feb 13, 2010 Tgaylord rated it really liked it
A great reference for cheese lovers. Purchased it at The Cheese Stands Alone, one of our favorite local stores before it went out of business in the bad economy. We miss you, TCSA!
Got once when I thought I'd learn more about cheeses, and wanted to remember what I liked about each. Failed experiment in recordkeeping for me, but decent enough book.
Oct 20, 2012 Robin added it
I'm probably cheating to call this one "read" - as it's a reference book that I spent some time with. Interesting idea, but you can find the same info on the internet.
Audrey Babkirk Wellons
Mar 31, 2008 Audrey Babkirk Wellons rated it really liked it
If snooty were an aroma, this book would stink up your whole house. Lots of interesting info, but it's definitely not organized with the newbie cheeselover in mind.
Jan 27, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: cheese
Lots of great information, but frustratingly many of his favorites are only available in Europe. Keep it on hand for the next time you do the Grand Tour..
Jun 13, 2010 Anthony rated it really liked it

Not as intuitive or all-inclusive a reference as I had hoped it would be, but still a nice resource for my foodie blog.
Feb 06, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Jenkins is definitely an egotistical cheesemonger, but he knows his stuff. This is a definitive work for those who love the sweet stink of ripe cheese.
Jan 27, 2008 Amy is currently reading it
Aaron got this for me because I love cheese. Man, do I love cheese! It is an expensive habit but I don't drink or smoke so it's ok, I think.
Jun 24, 2007 Brenna rated it it was amazing
ALL about cheeses. I have referenced this book many times, and I take it with my to my local cheese shops to help in picking out the good stuff.
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it
This book is not perfect but it is an excellent short guide to eating cheese and giving you some idea of what you are doing when you do it.
Mary Ann
Jun 21, 2009 Mary Ann rated it liked it
Excellent resource for detailed descriptions of cheeses from cheese-producing regions of the world and wines to serve with various cheeses.
Jenny Schmenny
Jan 26, 2008 Jenny Schmenny rated it really liked it
I'm a cheesemonger, and this is one of my most used cheese reference books, even though it's out of date and Jenkins is a bit of a snot.
Mariah Christensen
Mar 11, 2014 Mariah Christensen rated it liked it
First time through the book was Summer 2008.

Now, I use it mostly for reference, but I am trying to reread it this year.
Oct 29, 2009 Clay rated it it was amazing
People don't know enough about good cheese. If you want to enjoy one of the best culinary gifts known to man, read this book!
Jan 23, 2008 Christina rated it it was ok
Ok, I haven't really "read" this book, but it is more for reference and general knowledge. I'm a cheesemonger wannabee.
Apr 14, 2008 Jenne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
Nascent cheese snobbery, yeah! I love this book, and it is not snobby! So fun. Every home should have a copy.
Aug 23, 2007 Gordon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: cheese begininners
Shelves: cheese
awesome book for people interested in cheese. Some info is out of date, but this is unpretentious and knowledgeable.
Jun 20, 2008 Probiere rated it really liked it
I only wish he had included more cheeses. Sometimes I go to look one up and it's not in there.
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