Thursday, 7 June 2007


This evening I have been learning about cheese. This is one of the interesting aspects of translating, which is what I do for what my ex in a charmingly nineteenth century fashion used to describe as pin money. Though it may turn out to be my main source of income in the not too distant future. Did you know that ricotta is made from whey? More or less any whey, so it can be made with the left overs from any other kind of cheese production. Did you know that to make mozzarella you heat the chopped up curds to 62° then work them by hand, folding them over and over til you have the correct texture - in fact on a good quality mozzarella the hand-print of the maker is alwyas clearly visible. The chap on the market tells me to run the mozzarella in its bag of salt water under the warm tap before I serve it, or better still not to put it in the fridge at all. It may already be nearly 2 whole days old when I get it, don't let it sit around, he says, eat it straight away.

On a firmer note, the Italians have a word which refers to the tiny holes which you get in those semi-hard yellowish cheeses characterised by, er, their tiny holes. They are apprently typical of raw milk cheeses and are known as 'occhiatura'. One such Abbucciato Aretino [roughly meaning with a rind, from Arezzo], a raw sheep's milk cheese which looks and sounds rather tasty. It is currently object of a local council project to 'valorise their enogastronomic patrimony' as I have not, you will be glad to hear, translated it. I wonder if I could mail them and suggest that my translating abilities would be enhanced by the arrival of a small parcel of cheese in the post. On which note it might be time for dinner.

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