Do you remember the smell of freshly baked pizza right from the oven? Better yet, do you remember the taste that melts in your mouth after a bite of Paratha? Let it be pizza or paratha, do you know what makes it even better? Honestly, I doubt we can think of anything but Cheese!
Today it is cheese, cheese and cheese everywhere you turn! But have you ever thought about how the first cheese would have been made? We have and let us take you on a ride of cheesy tales.
Did you know? The cheese was invented even before the recording of history had begun. So yes, there are a few stories that tell the tale in their own versions. Be that as it may, it all unfolds in the land of The Fertile Crescent, present-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
The legacy of cheese began as early as the civilization itself. Once upon a time, there existed a world; a world that did not know the taste of cheese! A world that just started to domesticate animals and harvest them for milk and meat.
It was around 8000 BC. The day was warm and humid. The cows were milked, and the milk was stored. It was a day like any other. Only that it wasn’t. When the fresh milk was kept in the warm condition for several hours, it began to sour. Soft clumps started to form in the milk when the proteins started to coagulate because of the presence of lactic acid. The collected yellow globs were surprisingly soft, fresh and tasty when drained of the liquid, which we have come to know as whey water.
Did you know? Animals, especially sheep and cattle were harvested not just for milk, but for their skin too. The leak-proof gut skin of sheep was improvised as containers to carry milk to and fro. Little did they know about Rennet, the cheesy enzyme that lives its life day and night in the stomach of sheep, cows and other ruminants.
A little bit of warmth and a little bit of residual rennet! Before they knew what was happening, the magic of cheese began to unravel. The milk started to curdle naturally, which was later strained and salted for preservation. And there it was, one of the earliest forms of cheese.
As trade started to flourish, the cheese started to conquer the neighbouring lands and then eventually the whole world. Indeed, there were a lot of experiments; a whole lot in which the accidentally invented cheese was later aged, pressed, ripened and whizzed giving birth to a diversity of dairy delights today.
Thus, was born, ‘the season of cheese’ all day, every day in dairy land.