Cut the Cheese

Did you know to ‘cut the cheese’ means to fart? Apparently this old expression originated when someone noticed that the smell of fresh cut cheese resembled the smell of a fart…I’m not sure what kind of cheese they were cutting, but you get the point. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, cheese has been receiving a lot of media attention recently, so I thought I would take this opportunity to let you in on some of cheese’s secrets.

First of all, according to the U.K’s Centre for Retail Research, over three percent of our planets cheese is stolen every year! Two Michigan men were recently caught stealing $1,000 worth of provolone and a group from Oregon attempted to roll three large wheels of cheese worth approximately $600 out of the supermarket – Wow! Subway restaurants have even increased their prices to reflect the increased price of cheese…so why is cheese so expensive?

Well, to start it takes 10 kg of milk to make 1 kg of cheese. Most of the waste is whey, which contains whey proteins, water-soluble vitamins, minerals and water. Whey disposal is a major problem faced by the dairy industry because of the high water and solid content of the whey – don’t be surprised to see more whey products on the market soon, a good thing for sustainability.

Another interesting fact about cheese is the enzyme that is used to make the cheese coagulate was originally from the 4th stomach of a calf – probably something you would rather not know. However, due to recent innovations in biotechnology, food scientists have been able to implant this gene into microorganisms, which is good for vegetarians (and us). Go check out the cheese in your fridge right now – if the ingredient says ‘rennet,’ ‘chymosin,’ or ‘rennin’ then the enzyme is from a calf, but if it says ‘microbial enzyme’, ‘microbial rennet’ or ‘rennin-like substitute’, then it’s from a microorganism.

And last but not least, just a reminder to not over indulge in cheese – I know it tastes really good but remember 1 oz of cheese (which is a serving size), contains 9 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat. Unfortunately, 1 oz of cheese is not a lot, it’s approximately the size of four game dice. Bad day for cheese lovers.

Image courtesy of jczart