You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 18, 2012.

Just got a copy of the middle gel’s summah reading list.  The suggestions include:

America Street: An Anthology – Anne Mazer (Editor)
Boys Without Names – Kashmira Sheth
Countdown – Deborah Wiles
Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Dragonwings – Laurence Yep
Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan
The Examination – Malcolm Bosse
The Grass Harp – Truman Capote
Homecoming – Cynthia Voight
House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer
Inside Out and Back Again – Thanhha Lai
Monster – Walter Dean Myers
My Name is Not Angelica – Scott O’Dell
The Night Journey – Katherine Lasky
One Crazy Summer – Rita Williams-Garcia
Out of the Dust or Witness – Karen Hesse
The True Meaning of Smekday – Adam Rex
The Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera
Waiting for Normal – Leslie Connor
When You Reach Me – Rebecca Steadman
A Wrinkle in Time  – Madeleine L’Engle

Despite the fact that, other than Frank, Capote and L’Engle, I’ve never even heard of any of these people, I’d be willing to bet that I could peg the collective socio-political leanings of the bunch and the general thematic commonalities among them to within about one or two standard deviations with very little exertion on my part.

It’s just a hunch.

Ah, how delightful to see the local doppler radar, a blank screen these many, many days past, covered for a change with green of varying shades.

How equally delightful to go outside in teh wet and see streams of liquified pollen running down the storm drains.  Go! Go away! Shoo!!

If we could get a hard soaking that washes the air out good and proper, I might even start feeling like something more closely approximating a human being.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Friends of the decanter naturally will be interested in articles concerning Stilton cheese, the pairing of Port and Stilton being one of God’s great gifts to the palate.   So my snipe-like attention was immediately caught by the headline Stilton Seeks Right To Use Its Own Name For Its Cheese.

As I say, I came for the cheese.

Traditionally the pungent product has been made around Melton Mowbray, 60 miles away, but research has now led some to question the story of its origins.

Presently, the blue-veined cheese can be made by only seven dairies in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire where it has historically come from – and not in the Cambridgeshire village that shares its name.

But now, in National Stilton Week 2012, it has applied to Defra for an extension of the protected designation of origin (PDO) law to cover its area, a newspaper reported.

The village is putting up a road sign welcoming visitors to “the original home of stilton cheese” as it seeks a share of a market in which a million rounds of Britain’s favourite blue cheese are sold each year – as well as tourist revenue.

(Who knew, by the bye, that it was National Stilton Week?)

I stayed for the history.

It has traditionally been thought that the cheese was made in Melton Mowbray and sold to travellers in the coaching inns of Stilton, and this was the basis of the original PDO in 1996.

But three years ago the discovery of an 18th century recipe appeared to show that it was being made in Stilton as early as 1700 – while it has been pointed out that Daniel Defoe described the place as “a town famous for cheese”.

And what story out of modern Britain would be complete without an exercise in inane, pettifogging, political bureaucracy?

Shailesh Vara, the local Conservative MP, said he was writing to Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman to ask her to give her backing to the campaign.

Defra said if the application was found to be valid it would be subject to a 12-week consultation. The Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association has maintained a position of neutrality.

Its secretary, Nigel White, said: “Contrary to some reports nobody has ever prevented people in the village of Stilton from making cheese.

“However, until such time as the PDO is changed they will not be able to use the name Stilton on any cheese made in the village.”

Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, said he disputed the village’s claims.

He said: “I don’t think blue Stilton was ever made in the village of Stilton. They have a recipe from Richard Bradley in the 1720s for a cheese that is crumbled and pressed, which would no way ever turn into blue cheese.”

This piece reminds me again that Monty Python never, ever made anything up, but merely tweaked the source material they found all round them.  (“Any Venezuelan beaver cheese?” “Not today, Sir!”)


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April 2012