S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

To Know a Good Cheese

Good cheese has six qualities: Non Argus, nec Helena, nec Maria Magdalena, sed Lazarus et Martinus, resondens pontifici.

Not white as snow, like fair Helen,
Nor moist, like tearful Magdalen,
Not like Argus, full of eyes,
But heavy, like a bull of prize.
Well resisting thumb pressed in,
And let it have a scaly skin.
Eyeless and tearless, in colour not white.
Scaly, resisting and weighing not light.

(from The Goodman of Paris/Le Ménagier de Paris. trans. Eileen Power. London: Routledge & Sons, 1928.)
If you're interested in the translation, I have the middle French lying around too (c. 1393).

I don't think the Goodman was very fond of Swiss or soft goat's cheese. Ah well. His loss. Anyways, I doubt there was too much of a cheese export market in late fourteenth century France. Refridgeration units were somewhat lacking.

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