- Put up posters in the cafeteria or hallways; tape index cards to lunch-line sneeze guards.
- Engage students in trivia-type games about a food item during their cafeteria time. Use the "Fun Facts" sections to develop trivia questions.
- Use the Newsletter sample to communicate with parents about upcoming local food on the menu.
- Send home a Home Recipe so families can try a home version of food that will be served in the school cafeteria.
- Use the "Fun Facts" and photos of food items to build your own newsletter articles.
- Give teachers an announcement to read to their class about a local food item that will be served at the school.
- Supply teachers with a poster that they can put up in their classroom.
- Invite teachers to check out the classroom enrichment materials for more in-depth activities around each local food item.
Cool Stuff About Cheese!
Did you know that cheese remains have been found in Egyptian tombs that are more than 4,000 years old? There are over 2,000 varieties of cheeses! Cheese can be separated both by the type of milk - raw, skimmed or pasteurized, and by the animal - cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, horse or camel. It takes 10 pounds of milk to make just one pound of cheese. In 2007, Minnesota produced 624,267 pounds of cheese! Artisan cheeses are growing in popularity in Minnesota. Artisan cheese is produced in small batches, primarily by hand, often using traditional production and aging techniques. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and phosphorus. Ask your family to pick some up at your local farmer’s market or FARM NAME. You add cheese to almost any meal. Try cheese and apples for a tasty snack, put cheese on your sandwiches, salads or soups or use the recipe in this month’s newsletter. Today at lunch you will have the opportunity to sample cheese in FOOD ITEM from FARM NAME/CITY.
In [MONTH] your child tried [FOOD ITEM] with locally grown cheese from [FARM NAME] in [CITY] . Prepare this delicious recipe with your family and ask your child(ren) if they can answer the following trivia questions.
- Cheese remains have been found in Egyptian tombs more than how many years old?
- There are more than 2,000 varieties of cheese. Can you name six animals that produce milk to make cheese?
- How many pounds of milk does it take to make just one pound of cheese?
- Cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, horse or camel
- 10 pounds. In 2007, Minnesota produced 624,267 pounds of cheese!
History and Origin
- Cheese was popular in ancient Greece and Rome, but fresh milk and butter were not. This was probably due to the fact that the Mediterranean climate would have spoiled milk and butter quickly.
- Greek historian Xenophon (430-355 BC) mentions that goat cheese had been known for centuries in Peloponnesus.
- The first factory to make cheese from scratch was started in Rome, New York in 1851 by Jesse Williams. He had his own dairy herd and purchased more milk from other local farmers to make his cheese. By combining the milk and making large cheeses he could produce cheese with uniform taste and texture. Before then, companies would buy small batches of home made cheese curd from local farmers to make into cheese, each batch of curds producing cheese with wide differences in taste and texture from one another.
- Cheese is an ancient food with origins before recorded history. There is no conclusive evidence indicating where cheesemaking originated; either in Europe, Central Asia or the area east of the Mediterranean Sea; but the practice had spread within Europe prior to Roman times and, according to Pliny the Elder, had become a sophisticated enterprise by the time the Roman Empire came into being.
- Proposed dates for the origin of cheesemaking range from around 8000 BC (when sheep were first domesticated) to around 3000 BC. The first cheese may have been made by people in the the area east of the Mediterranean Sea or by nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia. Since animal skins and inflated internal organs have, since ancient times, provided storage vessels for a range of foodstuffs, it is probable that the process of cheese making was discovered accidentally by storing milk in a container made from the stomach of an animal, resulting in the milk being turned to curd and whey by the rennet from the stomach. There is a widely-told legend about the discovery of cheese by an Arab trader who used this method of storing milk. The legend has many individual variations.
- Cheesemaking may also have begun independently of this by the pressing and salting of curdled milk in order to preserve it. Observation that the effect of storing milk in an animal stomach gave more solid and better-textured curds, may have led to the deliberate addition of rennet.
- Nutritionally, cheese is essentially concentrated milk: it takes about 7.1 oz of milk to provide that much protein, and 5.3 oz of milk to equal the calcium in one ounce of cheese.
- The Center for Science in the Public Interest describes cheese as America's number one source of saturated fat, adding that the average American ate 30 lbs. of cheese in the year 2000.
Did you know…?
- Americans eat on average more than half a pound of cheese per person each week.
- Cheddar, Cheshire and Leicester cheeses have been colored with annatto seed for over 200 years. Carrot juice and marigold petals have also been used to color cheeses. Coloring may have originally been added to cheese made with winter milk from cows eating hay to match the orange hue (from vitamin A) of cheeses made with milk from cows fed on green plants.
- The terms "Big Wheel" and "Big Cheese" originally referred to those who were wealthy enough to purchase a whole wheel of cheese.
- The most recognizable characteristic of Swiss cheese is its holes which punctuate the pale yellow exterior. These holes, also called "eyes," are caused by the expansion of gas within the cheese curd during the ripening period.
- It takes 100 pounds of milk to make 15 pounds of cottage cheese.
- Cottage cheese is the fresh drained curds of slightly soured, low fat pasteurized milk. When the curds are drained, the cheese is called cottage cheese; allow the curds to drain longer and it is called pot cheese. Press the remaining moisture out so it becomes drier and crumbly, and it is called farmer's cheese.
How to Eat Cheese
- Add cheese to a sandwich
- Put cheese in your chili
- Eat cheese with a piece of fruit
- Try a cheese stick
- Make tacos, lasagna, pizza or casserole
The above information was compiled from:
Tasting Poster (781 K PDF)
Table Top Trifold (585 K PDF)
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photo by Brett Olson
Renewing the Countryside
Basket of Artisan Cheese
photo by Brett Olson
Renewing the Countryside
- Colonial Cheese Activities and Lessons- In the days of colonial and frontier settlers, the technology we take for granted today was not available. This lesson looks briefly at the differences in the working and eating conditions between the late 1800s and today. A video survey of life in the 1880s and a trial butter-making activity, as well as an Internet Quest for information on cheese will culminate in a hands-on cheese-making experience and tasting activity.
- History of cheese making
- Fun activities and games about dairy including cheese
- Information about cheese