Book Reviews

The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire
by Gaylord Brewer

The Banquet of Donny & Ari: Scenes from the Opera
by Naomi Guttman

by Michael Pollan

Revenge Baking
by Randon Billings Noble

Biting the Apple
by Jeanie Greensfelder

Best Food Writing 2014
edited by Holly Hughes

Creamy and Crunchy
by Jon Krampner

Biting through the Skin
by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

Feeding Orchids to Slugs
by Ann Mah

Mastering the Art of French Eating
by Florencia Clifford

Ivan Ramen
by Ivan Ramen

Third Thursday Potluck Cookbook
by Nancy Vienneau

Mint Tea & Minarets
by Kitty Morse

Prospero’s Kitchen
by Diana Farr Louis and June Marino

Mushroom: A Global History
by Cynthia Bertelsen

One Straw Revolution
by Masanobu Fukuoka

Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie
by Peggy Wolff

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo

by Chloe Yelena Miller

The Hungry Ear
by Kevin Young

Best Food Writing 2012
by Holly Hughes

Dinner: a Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

My Kitchen Wars
by Betty Fussell

American Cookery
by Laura Kalpakian

Apron Anxiety
by Alyssa Shelasky

Cucina Povera
by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
by Laurie Colwin

The Social Life of Coffee
by Brian Cowan

The Raw and the Cooked
by Jim Harrison

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet

Horsemen of the Esophagus
by Jason Fagone

Coffee Philosophy for Everyone
by Scott F. Parker and Michael W. Austin

by Kathryn Borel

Food Rules
by Michael Pollan

On Reading
by Rilke and Ruskin

America the Edible
by Adam Richman

Interview with the author of Party Girls,
Diane Goodman

Death Warmed Over
by Lisa Rogak

How to Cook a Crocodile
by Bonnie Lee Black

Great Food,
All Day Long

by Maya Angelou

Love Bites: Marital Skirmishes in the Kitchen
by Christopher Hirst

Best Food Writing 2011
edited by Holly Hughes

Balzac's Omelette
by Anka Muhlstein

The Little House Cookbook
by Barbara M. Walker

Muffins and Mayhem
by Suzanne Beecher

As Always, Julia:
The Letters of Julia Child and Avis De Voto


by Jason Wilson

The Particular Sadness
of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

The Bluberry Years
by Jim Minick

Livingston and the Tomato
by A. W. Livingston

by Barry Estabrook

Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
by Robert V. Camuto

Best Food Writing 2010 edited
by Holly Hughes

by Lizzie Collingham

Four Fish
by Paul Greenberg

The Physiology
of Taste

by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Far Flung
and Well Fed

by R. W. Apple, Jr.

The Food of a Younger Land
by Mark Kurlansky

The Dirty Life
by Kristin Kimball

by Michael Ruhlman

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
by Jessica Theroux

Blood, Bones & Butter
by Gabrielle Hamilton

by Steve Almond

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
by Alice B. Toklas

Medium Raw
by Anthony Bourdain

Appetite City
by William Grimes

Twain's Feast
by Andrew Beahrs

97 Orchard
by Jane Ziegelman

Born Round
by Frank Bruni

by Kate Moses

Full English by
Tom Parker Bowles

Following Fish by
Samanth Subramanian

Eating Animals by
Jonathan Safran Foer

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese
by Eric LeMay

For You, Mom. Finally
by Ruth Reichl

Farm City
by Novella Carpenter

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

I ♥ Macarons
by Hisako Ogita

The Hamburger
by Josh Ozersky

Best Food Writing 2009 edited
by Holly Hughes

by Archestratos

Eat, Memory edited by Amanda Hesser

Eat My Globe
by Simon Majumdar

by Jason Epstein

What We Eat When We Eat Alone
by Deborah Madison

The Sweet Life
in Paris

by David Lebovitz

Modern Spice
by Monica Bhide


FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE by Paulette Licitra

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese
by Eric LeMay
Free Press, June 2010
Hardcover 256 pp., ISBN: 978-1439153048

I first met Eric LeMay when we published his essay on cheese entitled "Stink." Our meeting was an auspicious encounter. Eric became Alimentum's Web Editor and a vital, indispensable member of the Alimentum family. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to read and reflect on his new book. —P.L.

Eric LeMay adores cheese.

He may not come right out and say it, but every word in every sentence of his new book, Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese, glows with the enamored shine usually reserved for deities and demi-gods.

LeMay, who’s smitten by the delights of Parisian cheese offerings while floating through the city with his true love, Chuck (his female co-adventurer), comes home to the States vastly deprived of the real, unprocessed, unpasteurized, uncooked, un-mass-produced cheese. You can take the palate out of Paris, but you can’t take Paris out of the palate.

So follows the hills and dales of his cheese adventures. You may have read about cheese adventures before. You may have had cheese adventures before. But there’s no way you’ve heard them described quite this way.

LeMay goes to great lengths to experience cheese (not merely eat it) in its best possible forms and its most authentic environments—from the labyrinth of a Cambridge, Massachusetts cheese store that boasts 300 cheeses from far-reaching places, to foggy San Francisco, to the crowded Slow Food salon in Italy where children dance in cheese costumes, to Wisconsin curd-eating fests, to the summits of French mountains and the depths of French caves. Like a mythic hero descending into the underworld for the Holy Grail, he braves daunting obstacles, exotic customs, and peculiar characters in a world gone crazy with cheese.

And Chuck is right there with him. She’s his alter ego and voice of reason. They banter back and forth trying to find the just-right words for a sought-after finally-found cheese: "It tastes smoky, but with a growl." "It makes me want to hit something." "The cheese gives you the experience of what it’s like to grow old with it."

LeMay has a facility with language that spins your ear, throws starlight in your eyes, and skips around your brain like a kid speeding down a giant water slide. He’s got a delightful, screwball take on the world (read: cheese) that combines lucid fun-with-language and uniquely specific observation.

Etymologists will have a feast with his chapter on the use of the word "cheesy." You’re not going to find a more thorough exploration for why, how, when, and wherefore-art-thou did the word creep into our language. How can cheesy’s connotations possibly relate to that sublime substance known as cheese?

A nice surprise addendum lets us in on the voice of Chuck. In her short chapters on cheese pairings, we’re privy to some eye-opening ideas for culinary cheese allies like chocolate, whiskey, wine, coffee, and beer. Some of her proposals raise an eyebrow immediately followed by raising your appetite. Her suggestions, and her comparatively down-to-earth sensible approach (though she’s just as gaga over cheese as her partner), point us to seemingly eccentric pairings that are delicious, innovative, and elegant.

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese celebrates exactly that: milk elevated to Royalty Everlasting. LeMay’s memoir is outstandingly only a great cheese that ripens beautifully can be.

July 17, 2010