Dec 10, 2011

Say Cheese

The root of the English word cheese comes from the Latin caseus, which also gives us the word casein, the milk protein that is the basis of cheese. Caseus is also the root word for cheese in other languages, including queso in Spanish, kaas in Dutch, käse in German, and queijo in Portuguese. Caseus Formatus, or molded (formed) cheese, brought us formaticum, the term the Romans employed for the hard cheese used as supplies for the legionaries. From this root comes the French fromage and the Italian formaggio.

Cheese consumption began as early as 8000 BC, when sheep were first domesticated. It is believed to have been discovered in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia, where foodstuffs were commonly stored in animal hides or organs for transport. Milk stored in animal stomachs would have separated into curds and whey by movement and the naturally present bacteria

The United States is the top producer of cheese in the world, with Wisconsin and California leading in production. Although the US produces the most cheese, Greece and France lead in cheese consumption per capita. Cheese consumption in the US has tripled since 1970 and is continuing to increase.