Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another note about cheese

When I started this blog, I had no idea that the mentions of cheese and knitting would get so most attention from readers.  Last week, someone I knew in college thirty(!) years ago contacted me; he'd come across Marion Brown's letters here, and he has first-hand knowledge of swine cheese.  Here's his story:
When I was around ten to twelve years old my sister and I were living with a relative in a New Scotland, a rural town in upstate New York that (back in the 1970s) still had a number of working farms.  One of our neighbors kept a few pigs and sometimes made swine cheese from a recipe her grandmother had brought over from Scotland.  I only had the stuff a couple of times, but it was nowhere near as unpleasant as Richard Foss fears.  My memories are a bit foggy on the details, but I recall it as being similar in texture to feta cheese and having a similar sort of "gamey" flavor to it.  A fairly strong and odd taste but not bad, just strange.  The woman's farm shut down about the time I entered middle school and she moved away shortly thereafter.  Never encountered the stuff since then, although I never realized how rare it was until I followed up on that blog posting of yours.
He also mentioned a blog about milking pigs; sure enough, "To Milk A Pig" posted this year (so it wasn't there last time I was looking for information on the topic).  As such things do, that led me to another blog, where a travel writer describes Tuscan pig cheese, and seems to agree with my old friend's assessment above--it's a soft cheese, strong flavors, not bad just strange. 

In further emails, he also suggested that Marion Brown might have experienced a vocal cord disorder, which can impair speech and breathing, and even cause some of the muddled "stupid" feeling Marion sometimes mentions.  Definitely a possibility, I'd say.  Thanks, and small world! 

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