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Camembert: A National Myth

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In this witty and entertaining book, Boisard investigates the history of Camembert and its legend. He considers the transformation of France's cheese ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Camembert: A National Myth

Overall customer rating: 5.000
Hazmeister

Best Cheese Book on My Shelf

by Hazmeister on Feb 22, 2010

Unlike so many books on the subject of cheese, that are, well, cheesy, this is a scholarly tome dedicated to the origins and commercial success of one of France's great cheeses. It is beautifully written and translated. The book is largely chronological and follows the development of the true camembert of Normandy much like a biography. In the end you *know* the cheese not by its bloomy rind, faint mushroomy aroma, and elegant, soft interior, but by its producers and purchasers... its humble origins and its loss of character due to pasteurization and factory production. One endearing quality of the writing is the way it embodies the French way of argumentation: on the one hand you have this, and on the other hand you have that. This style of narrative coincides with the history of the cheese, where there are many stories of its origins, most of which might somehow resemble the historical facts. But rather than resort to making a firm story out of imprecise historical records, Boisard has researched many recollections and facts and synthesized them without hyperbole. I learned as much about the French way of thinking, of French history, and of unavoidable encounters with selfish interests as I did about the cheese itself. In the end, I wanted more than ever to taste the authentic artisan product, more fully appreciating how something authentic is nearly lost after being hijacked by commercial interests. Now, if Boisard would only write such a volume for some of the other great cheeses of France...

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