Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More About Cheese

14c cheesemaking   photo credit: Wikipedia
An international team of researchers, led by the University of Bristol in the U.K., has pushed back the date of earliest cheese producation to 7000 years ago.There's suspicion that it was happening a thousand years befor that, but the researchers, working on pot shards, have confirmed the presence of fatty acids found in milk.
The shards were from pottery seives, used in making cheese from cow's milk. At the time, most people were lactose intolerant, losing the ability to digest milk at an early age. Processing raw milk into cheese would break down the lactose and make it tolerable. But when dairying from what is modern-day Turkey made its way morth into Europe, it met with mutant humans who continued to be able to consume milk well into adulthood. Dairying provided these people with a new, high-quality food source, and helped them spread their genes across the continent.

Wheels of Gouda   photo credit: Wikipedia
Listen to CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks on Dec. 15 for an interview with Richard Evershed, who co-authored the study of ancient cheesemaking at the University of Bristol.

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