Convent Cheese

The news of the microbe-coated seed reminded me of a chapter in Pollan’s last book, Cooked. In his book, Pollan tells of learning cheese making at a convent on the west coast. The cheese-making nun learned in France with one of the oldest cheesemakers and returned from France with one of her teacher’s wooden vessels that had been a cheese vat literally for decades. When the California Health Department came to inspect her cheese facility, they dictated that she discard the wooden bowl in favor of stainless steel for the sake of “sanitation”. She explained that this vat had been used to make cheese for a very long time while not making anyone sick so the inspector said he would monitor bacteria levels before he could approve the vessel. So Sister Cheese made her first batch and while the inspector found bacteria in the cheese, it was all beneficial bacteria. He then checked the vat and first found bad bacteria but when he tested shortly after the first check, he found something he had never experienced. Good bacteria appeared and seemed to be “eating” the bad bacteria. By the end of the day, all bad bacteria had been consumed and only good bacteria prevailed, waiting for its next meal. 
 
So the west coast now has Real Cheese. More progress. 

JVF