This Cheesy Query About if Robin Hood Were Real
Q: If Robin Hood were real and were to host a feast in Sherwood Forest what kind of cheese would he have had and bread also?
An Irish Food Historian’s Take: “We’re not awfully sure. To be fair, medieval Ireland was obsessed with cheese, so England was never going to live up to that. The best theory I’ve heard – and as with anything in food history, theory can be pretty vague – is that England had successive waves of invasion/resettlement which, in each case, wiped out some of the local knowledge. Cheese-making is very localized, due to bacterial cultures, storage conditions, and so on. The cheese made in one village, and the cheese made in the next could be quite different, and it takes a very long time to optimize for conditions, and for local taste. So, the theory goes, in Ireland, cheese-making was a more or less unbroken tradition for well over a thousand year, whereas the English traditions at any given time were only a couple of hundred years old. So the English cheese just wasn’t as good.
“My knowledge of non-food history in France is not good enough to assess whether that could apply there, and my other areas of food knowledge are in the medieval Nordic and Arabic cultures, neither of which were hugely into cheese. Although I do have to note the baked ‘squeaky cheese’ (bread cheese) you get in Finland; it’s a different approach to cheesemaking and is both excellent and historically popular there. If someone else knows about French, Germanic, Mediterranean and/or East European cheese history, I’d be happy to hear from them!”