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Americans have an intrinsic love of everything cheese. Who orders a hamburger when a cheeseburger is on the menu? Why ask for the naked fries when you can order cheesy fries? A slice of sausage on a cracker without a slice of cheese is a waste of sausage and cracker! We dress up our veggies in it, can’t make a casserole without it, and crave its widely varying flavors in a myriad of recipes.

There’s no exact record of when cheese came to be, but following is one legend that may explain how this multi-faceted and versatile food was first discovered.

The centuries-old legend, based in the Middle East, says that Ahab, an Arabic tribesman, was preparing for a long desert journey. With no Thermos or Coleman cooler handy in which to transport his milk, he used the next best thing — the dried stomach of a sheep. The happy traveler and his trusty camel took off across the blistering sands.

After hours of bumping and jostling in the broiling sun, he dismounted to satisfy his thirst. Opening the pouch, he discovered the milk inside had separated into a thin watery substance (now known as whey) and a thickened mass (what we call curds). Startled by what he found but needing nourishment, he drank the liquid, finding it more refreshing than the milk he started with. He sampled the curds and found them tasty, as well.

Reaching his destination, Ahab quickly sold samples to his relatives, who loved the taste and texture of the new food. Though he was at a loss to explain what had happened, he seized the opportunity. He continued to raise sheep, selling the meat and utilizing the stomach linings. Ahab made millions with his desert camel taxi service that included a cheese curd production operation and a lunch stand. (You’ve heard of curds and whey?)

Whether the legend is true or not is inconsequential. We are just grateful for the discovery. We now know that the sun heated the stomach pouch, allowing the natural enzymes in the lining of it to act on the milk, changing it into the white curds. The watery liquid was a by-product of the process.

Cheese-making today does not involve camels, goat stomachs or desert travel – just great taste, nutrition and scores of wonderful pizza recipes, all of which showcase the versatility of cheese!

Take a Close Look at this Month’s Pizza Selections . . . Please see individual pizza labels for how to bake the perfect CHICAGO DEEP DISH PAN CRUST PIZZA.

#1 — TMG GOURMET PIZZA- This winner is laden with Plum Tomatoes, Fresh Mushroom Slices and Roasted Garlic . . . and of course, Mozzarella cheese. Add this one to your Favorite’s List?

#2 — GARLIC CHICKEN GOURMET PIZZA- Spiced Chicken Breast Strips and Fresh Sliced Mushrooms  are blanketed with lots of Mozzarella. There’s a lot to love about this  pizza!

#3 — PEP N SAUSAGE GOURMET PIZZA- This one brings the top of the line ingredients to your table — Mozzarella cheese snuggles with spiced and sliced Pork Pepperoni and spicy Pork Sausage.

It’s a Trifecta! All three selections this month are made with your favorite Pizza of the Month Club’s Signature Tomato Sauce loaded with onions, garlic, spices, Romano cheese, oils and Chablis, and each also offers a generous portion of the all-necessary cheese, Mozzarella!

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Tracie Burket
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