Health, taverns, languages, idioms, extract 1
Conserved in cylindrical jars in Egyptian tombs, more than thousands of years before Jesus-Christ, cheese was enjoyed by Sumerians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Etruscans, Germans, Romans, Greeks, Arabs and Byzantines.
In the Middle Ages, in France, cheese was sold by « Regrattiers de pain (bread) » (food resellers). They also sold seafood, cooked meat, salt, fruit, eggs and useful spices like cinnamon, cumin and pepper. The « Regrattiers d’alun » sold garlic, onions, shallots, butter, eggs and local vegetables and also cheese.
Raw, cooked, dry, fresh, different kinds of cheese can be prepared in different ways, depending on where it comes from and the region’s traditions.
Cheese and health While Galien said that cheese wasn’t good for old people, in the Middle Ages, doctors recommended eating cheese after melon, to aid the digestion of the latter. If their meal comprised both cheese and meat, aristocrats ate first the meat and then the cheese.
Old cheese was known to be difficult to digest but good to help to digest other foods; thus this old English proverb from the 16th century: Cheese digests all things but itself.
And some more about cheese and digestion, it was said to eat cheese with pear: Only God made such marriage as a pear and cheese. (13th century). But the best was to end the meal with cheese: After cheese come nothing. (13th century).
Today, don’t forget that succulent organic cheese is made with a healthy animal’s milk, living without any hormones, antibiotics and other horrors. If you already eat organic, you’ve savored such cheese; otherwise, don’t keep yourself from such a delight, because you can benefit from animal health.
Cheese and languages In most Indo-European languages, the word: cheese, comes from Latin: caseus. Thus, we have cacio in Italian, cheese in English, Käse in German, queso in Spanish, and queijo in Portuguese. The Greek root formos, meaning curdled milk, was also used and became formaggio in Italian and fromage in French.
Cheese and French idioms In French, Between pear and cheese, means the end of the meal. If you find a good cheese for yourself, it means that you have found a good job, not too tiring and paying enough. But if you do a cheese with all, it means that you make a mountain out of a molehill.
Extract 1 Ulysse in the Cyclop’s cave « Quickly, we arrive to the cavern; he wasn’t home; he was in the pasture with his sheep. We go into the cave and look all around: trays full of cheese; (…) he sits and begins to milk, one after another, all of his bleating flock, sheep and goats, then, he lets each baby go under each dug, curdles half of his white milk, strains it and puts it in bulrush baskets, but he kept some in containers, to drink when he likes or with his dinner. »
Homere, Odyssea, Song IX