THE CHEESE WARS
There hasn’t been such a hubbub over cheese since the French were called “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” in the popular conservative press as war loomed in Iraq. These days, cheese is weaponry: The European Commission intends to restrict the use of generic terms like cheddar, parmesan, feta, provolone and even “classic” and “fine” by including naming restrictions within free-trade agreements with Western Hemisphere and Asian countries. The cheese makers are fighting back, though.
The Consortium for Common Food Names, launched on Monday and based in Virginia, hopes to stop European efforts to monopolize names now in the public domain. They’re OK with specific things like “Parmigiano Reggiano,” “Camembert de Normandie” or “Washington State apples.” But restricting ricotta?