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Reinventing the Wheel


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An in-depth and fascinating look into the world of cheese and its creators

About the Author

Bronwen Percival is the cheese buyer for Neal's Yard Dairy in London. In addition to working with cheesemakers and the company's maturation team to select and optimise the quality of the cheese they sell, she works to mobilise collaboration between cheesemakers and the scientific community. Bronwen served as an editor for the Oxford Companion to Cheese, winner of the 2017 James Beard Award for Reference & Scholarship. Francis Percival is a food writer and columnist for The World of Fine Wine. His writing won Louis Roederer Best International Wine Columnist in 2013 and Pio Cesare Food & Wine Writer of the Year in 2015. Along with Bronwen, he is a co-founder of the London Gastronomy Seminars.


It covers breeds of cattle (fascinating), farming (harsh but glorious), and the nature of milk and microbes (again, fascinating) ... a marvellous book, dense with data yet never a slog. * The Wall Street Journal *
A passionate argument for the value of artisanal farmhouse cheeses, explaining what's involved in cheese-making, its history and the prospects for cheese now. * Evening Standard *
A groundbreaking book-cum-manifesto. * Financial Times *
The single most important book I have read this year. * JancisRobinson.com *
A fascinating timely tale of re-learning how to work with microbes and rescue healthy traditional cheese -- Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London and author of The Diet Myth
An erudite and entertaining journey through dairy farming, microbiology, anthropology, history, public health, politics and gastronomy. A scrupulously researched and thoughtful manifesto for a more complex and nuanced approach to cheesemaking. -- Fuchsia Dunlop, cook and food writer
An insightful and knowledgeable read that highlights the importance of following and not losing ancient traditions in the 21st century. -- Gareth Wyn Jones, author of The Hill Farmer
A rich and eye-opening insiders account of the modern cheese world: the anonymous uniformity underlying the apparent bounty of the cheese counter, the near extinction of truly exceptional cheese, and the new scientific appreciation of pre-scientific cheesemaking, with its canny reliance on biodiversity in pastures and cattle and the dairy, which may help bring more distinctive and flavourful cheese to tomorrows's table. -- Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
A book that combines scientific rigor, commercial expertise and passionate connoisseurship. * The Street *
A heroic study of cheesemaking that is at once scholarly and sensory. Bronwen and Francis Percival dissect the relationships - micro and macro - that give shape to great flavour.' -- Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and author of The Third Plate
Reinventing the Wheel is a gift, a careful exploration of our shared history and the tension between progress, modernity, and tradition. Fundamentally, it is a book full of hope, and it is the most exciting food writing I have experienced in years. -- Mateo Kehler, co-founder of Jasper Hill Farm and Cellars at Jasper Hill
A cheese love story that's so well told you won't be able to put it down. If you are even half as fascinated by cheese, culinary history, and good stories as I am, this will be the most compelling book you read this year. -- Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses
The Percivals take a deep, serious dive into the culinary history, sociology, politics, terroir, microbiology, and how-to of the making and eating of cheese, raw and pasteurized. Both kinds, when done right, can be delicious and safe. This book should convince anyone that the making of wondrous cheeses is a science as well as an art. -- Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
Challenges us to think more deeply about cheese than almost any of us might have imagined possible. Imperative reading for anyone who wants to understand why a small number of cheeses are extraordinary. * The Art of Eating *
A brilliant consideration of microbial ecology, the science that is causing a refresh of our view of everything from human health to the health of cows and farmers in the dairy industry. * Wine and Spirits *

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