Sid Cook, master cheesemaker, Carr Valley Cheese Co., La Valle, Wis.
First food-related job? I was about 4 years old. I would pick up the milk can lids that missed going back on the milk can as it came out of the washer.
Where did you learn to make cheese? grew up in a cheese factory. There were two doors from the house to the factory. One from the office and one from the kitchen. So every morning growing up I was in the factory. By the time I was 12 I was making my own vats and at 16 passed the Wisconsin Cheese Makers License exam.
Favorite way to eat cheese? I like it tempered to about 68F, and just the cheese.
What should the public know about cheese? One huge thing: cheese is not all the same. Even in the same variety there are huge textural and flavor differences. Cheddar, for example, varies greatly from plant to plant in the same region. It is made on different equipment from traditional to automatic, and milled curd and granular. The milk from different areas of the country contributes to this differences as well. The public needs to recognize and celebrate the differences.
Who is your cheese idol? My dad. He taught me the ways.
What is your first memory of cheese? 14 months old, my dad feeding me cheese out in the factory.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a cheesemaker? I would be doing something in the cheese business.
Best book about cheese you’ve read? Wilster’s “Practical Cheese Making”
Would you bait a mousetrap with your cheese? No, they love it too much and so do I. I use peanut butter.