Minor cheese rant

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So this recipe uses goat cheese. This cooking show had someone do a dish with goat cheese on a salad.

Is there really only 1 kind of goat cheese? When you go to the cheese counter at, say, Whole Paycheck Foods, do they have just two offerings - goat cheese or cow cheese?

Seriously???

mjb.
 
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Yeah it is classic dumbing down that I have never been able to wrap my head around. Who is doing the dumbing and who are they doing it for?

Occam’s Razor "The simplest explanation is usually the correct one."
and then there is always this...
Hanlon’s Razor “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
 
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So this recipe uses goat cheese. This cooking show had someone do a dish with goat cheese on a salad.

Is there really only 1 kind of goat cheese? When you go to the cheese counter at, say, Whole Paycheck Foods, do they have just two offerings - goat cheese or cow cheese?

Seriously???

mjb.
Sorry I'm confused. Is the question as to why there is only limited iterations of goat's milk based cheese, or that there are only two animal milks being used for cheese primarily? I'm honestly not even sure what other animals produce milk to make cheese on a commercial level?
 
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The question is why are there cooks who think saying "goat cheese" is enough to describe the product, when there are many varieties of goat cheese. You don't go to the store to buy 'cow cheese' you go to buy cheddar, or swiss, or mozzarella, or parmesan or whatever. And sheep's milk is also used to make cheese.

mjb.
 
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I think it's pretty simple, up until fairly recent times (at least in the US) there weren't a lot of options at all for cheese in general. Probably the only goat cheese you could find would be the fresh chevre, so "we" got used to just calling it goat cheese, because yes, at that time there probably was only 1 readily available type of goat cheese.

Now that the culinary scene in the US has expanded so much in the last, say, 20 years there are more options, but people still call chevre "goat cheese" because that's what we've called it.

In my kitchen I refer to it as chevre because we do indeed have more than 1 type of goat cheese in house...usually anyways.

The question is why are there cooks who think saying "goat cheese" is enough to describe the product, when there are many varieties of goat cheese. You don't go to the store to buy 'cow cheese' you go to buy cheddar
"Cheddar" is almost as generic as "goat cheese" If you say "Grab me the cheddar for this salad" are you talking about a raw milk cheddar? An aged cheddar? How sharp? Smoked or not?

Soft? Semi-soft? Hard? Emmetalier? Gruyere? Raclette? Vacherine? Or will a tomme from Vermont do?

mozzarella
Fresh? Shredded? Burrata? Buffalo? Whole milk or part skim? Curds?
 
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It’s a good rant, and I’m sure the dairy and cheese producers would agree.

My rant is with measuring ingredients, the N.Americans are stuck in a time warp with measuring by volume, not weight.

The big bad wolf in both of these rants is the media. Either they feel the public are stupid, or they feel that they control all public opinion. Like a full diaper, this needs to be changed—for similar reasons.....
 
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I don't think I've ever had that. Does it have a distinct flavor profile from a standard mozzarella?
The flavor profile isn't hugely different, but the cheese is noticeably richer and creamier. Buffalo milk burrata is also stunning.
 
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So this recipe uses goat cheese. This cooking show had someone do a dish with goat cheese on a salad.

Is there really only 1 kind of goat cheese? When you go to the cheese counter at, say, Whole Paycheck Foods, do they have just two offerings - goat cheese or cow cheese?

Seriously???
I'm not sure what the problem is, nor why you're singling out goat cheese. Most goat cheese is called simply "goat cheese".

Most recipes call for generic ingredients like dark chocolate, tomatoes, rice, or dry white wine and just like with goat cheese, there are many different varieties of those ingredients too, with different textures, tastes, sugar content, acidity, suggested techniques for handling, and resulting effects on the final product. You are left to pick whatever specific variety you prefer, can find in the store, or have on hand. I don't think there's only one specific goat cheese type that works for a goat cheese salad, just like there isn't one specific variety of tomato that works for a tomato sauce recipe. Do we really need to specify the exact type or variety of every single ingredient in a dish?

Now let's bring the focus back to goat cheese. In my tiny region alone, there are as many varieties of goat cheeses as there are goat farmers. Most of them don't give a specific name to their cheeses. They're just "goat cheese". Goats from the valley yield a completely different tasting milk than goats from the mountains. The greens they eat are different and make for a completely different flavor profile. Each cheese producer has their own little tricks or techniques they use that make their own cheese different from the next. Every year, the milk tastes different from the previous year. And for sure, the summer milk tastes completely different from the winter milk. Which, depending on how long the cheese was aged, results in cheese tasting different 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months later in the year.

Go to a goat cheese farm around here, and you'll most likely find a few types of cheese with generic name such as "goat cheese" of different ages, sometimes different shapes. Here, on the left, the one called "p-tit frais" which translates as "small fresh" and on the right "buches cendres" which translates to "log ashes", names you'll find just about anywhere for all kinds of different cheeses.

 
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I believe it was more of a ideological rant than a pragmatic one. I feel fairly confident that teamfat can select a proper goat cheese to use in a dish.

It is like if you are the leader of a band that has wide repertoire of styles and genres and someone says "play music".
 
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It is like if you are the leader of a band that has wide repertoire of styles and genres and someone says "play music".
I feel like different amounts of specificity can be warranted depending on the situation. If a musician asks "play a blues riff", I'll know what to play, even though there are more than one type of blues music, and even though they didn't specify the tempo, the key, the time signature, the swing feel, or the period.

Same as in cooking, sometimes you may need to be specific (specifying bomba rice for a paella dish) and other times it's okay not to be (saying just white rice for a stuffed tomato dish).

What I was trying to point out was that we're rarely specific when describing ingredients, so I found it odd to point out the specific example of saying goat cheese. But perhaps by doing that I've ruffled teamfat's feathers. My apologies if I have. My post probably comes across as argumentative, but I find the discussion interesting.
 
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No, you didn't ruffle my feathers, you simply restated my original point, in that people are more specific about cow cheese than goat cheese.

mjb.
 
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What I can tell you is that in my area if I go to a small local cheese producer, they'll typically have a few types of cow cheese. For example typically they'll have a "tomme", they'll have some kind of "gruyère" equivalent, and they'll have some kind of "morbier" equivalent. On the other hand for goat cheese, they'll have just "goat cheese", often in various states of ripeness. So it's fairly common to say something like "I'll have 500g of tomme, 500g of gruyère, 2 small extra fresh goat cheeses, one semi-ripened goat cheese, and one of those goat cheese logs right there."
 
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As far as I know, in France there are 14 appellations of goat cheese with PDO labeling. They cover a wide range of complexity in flavor and texture ranging from mild and soft to sharp and hard.
 
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As far as I know, in France there are 14 appellations of goat cheese with PDO labeling. They cover a wide range of complexity in flavor and texture ranging from mild and soft to sharp and hard.
I would assume there are more than 14 of them. But the number of A.O.P. doesn't mean it's the majority of cheeses produced.

In any case, at least here in France, if you talk so a fellow cook and talk to them about an idea for a goat cheese salad and mention that you used "green lettuce, croutons, and melted goat cheese", they'll immediately think of the type of fresh goat cheese I pictured earlier, and won't think to start asking "which" goat cheese you're talking about.
 
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But the number of A.O.P. doesn't mean it's the majority of cheeses produced.
Couldn't agree more.
In any case, at least here in France, if you talk so a fellow cook and talk to them about an idea for a goat cheese salad and mention that you used "green lettuce, croutons, and melted goat cheese", they'll immediately think of the type of fresh goat cheese I pictured earlier, and won't think to start asking "which" goat cheese you're talking about.
The descriptor of "melted" narrows the field a bit wouldn't you say.

At any rate I understand what teamfat is saying perfectly well, and I perfectly understand what you are saying as well. I am glad that people look at things differently, otherwise the world would be pretty damned boring! :~)
 
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