I feel like I’ve been writing/talking about cheese a lot lately. I have no idea why. I barely even eat cheese. I need to explore this new cheese obsession more thoroughly. But that can wait.
First this: the cheese you see here is made by a woman named Christina Agapakis as part of collaborative study being conducted at the University of Edinburgh and Stanford University on Synthetic Aesthetics. Agapakis grew this cheese with bacteria from the human body. She describes her human cheesemonging process is as follows:
“Swabs from hands, feet, noses, and armpits were inoculated into fresh, pasteurized, organic whole milk and incubated overnight at 37° Celsius. The milk curds were then strained and pressed, yielding unique smelling fresh cheeses.”
Yes, fantastic. One-of-a-kind human cheeses. But why? In a statement about the project, Agapakis says the following:
“The intersection of our interests in smell and microbial communities led us to focus on cheese as a ‘model organism.’ Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet. Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies or in other parts of our life?”
Well, that ought to give me something to think about for the rest of the day. This could be the beginning of a cheese narcissism movement. You can order your own wheel of specially cultivated armpit or toe jam cheese and enjoy the smell and taste of yourself. OK, that was taking it too far. [Neatorama]