Eat This

Cheese Rinds: When To Eat Them and When To Leave Them On The Board

We all have asked the question: When exactly is it alright to eat the cheese rinds?
We all have asked the question: When exactly is it alright to eat the cheese rinds? Dorina Anders via Creative Commons

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"Some rinds are dusty gray and brown," Lambert points out. " You probably won't like the way it tastes. She describes the flavor of the rinds on well-aged cheeses as very unpleasant, and the texture? "It's more like cardboard."

Still the rinds are perfectly safe to eat, so if you're a masochist and you like the flavor, as well as the act of digging gunk out of your molars, by all means, dig in!

There are of course a few rinds you never want to eat. Cloth, paper and wax materials aren't poisonous, but they aren't food or even a true rind, either. Lambert told the story of a customer who called her store asking for help with a soup that had gone haywire. The woman had watched Rachel Ray, who said adding the rinds from cheeses to a broth is a great way to enhance a soup.

This is absolutely true if you have a Ziploc bag full of parmigiano reggiano ends in your fridge, but this woman was hanging onto the waxy exteriors of Gouda and Edam. What she thought was a true rind resulted in a molten layer of wax that floated on the top of her stockpot — not exactly good eats.

Still Lambert reminded me that, while not appetizing, the material was food grade wax, and eating it was not dangerous in any way. The point re-enforces the notion that the best way to determine whether or not you should eat a rind is simply to taste a little.

Since taste is so subjective I headed back to Oak Lawn's favorite cheese shop to corner Rich Rogers and get a better handle on the specifics. We came up with a list of cheeses you should definitely eat enthusiastically, rinds your should eat enthusiastically if you enjoy, and rinds that really have no business in your belly.

First, let's look at the good.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz