Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cat Cheese

I'll admit my first reaction was "yuck" but after thinking about it a bit more, why not? In addition to cows, we routinely eat cheese from goats, sheep, lambs, and water buffalo so why not give cats a shot.

From KQED...
Last week I was introduced to something I didn’t even know existed: cat cheese. Known to cheese mongers as Fromage de Chat, this cheese has become the new “it” food in the culinary world. 
So what is cat cheese? As you may suspect, it’s simply cheese made from the milk of a feline. According to Cheesemonger’s Weblog, it’s quite popular in Eastern Europe, which makes sense as the Siberian cat has particularly rich milk and there’s really not a lot to eat in that part of the world. But cat cheese has been a staple in many cultures since the pharaohs began demanding it at their dinner tables thousands of years ago to honor Mafdet, the lion goddess. According to historical records, cats were first tamed by Egyptians to help control their diets and thus shape the milk’s taste. Although some people seemed to enjoy the natural flavors of wild cat’s milk, the pharaohs wanted their cheese to taste more like river fish than mongoose and rats, and so the domesticated cat was born. 
Cat cheese is currently made mostly in small urban farms. Each city seems to have its own purveyor. In the Bay Area, Freyja Jones, a 70-year old woman who lives in Montclair, is the resident cat dairy woman. Living in an old hunting cabin near a local swimming and tennis club, Freyja has over 200 cats on her property. And while that may seem like a lot of animals to put in a 1500 square foot house, Freyja’s operation is a smooth running machine and she says she wouldn’t mind having millions of cats.
The millions of cats part freaked me out, especially since this woman lives in our neighborhood in Oakland but I would like to try her cheese. 


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