Words in the News


Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter

This is the last Words in the News post of 2017 and since the season of indulgence is upon us it seems timely to talk about cheese. Cheese is an essential part of Christmas eating for many, and the cheese that is associated above all with festive eating is Stilton. This strong, hard blue cheese can officially only be made in three counties, none of which are Cambridgeshire, which is the location of the village of Stilton that gave the cheese its name. As if the traditional Christmas dinner was not heavy enough, many people round it off by bringing out the Stilton, perhaps accompanied by another seasonal favourite, port.

So why is cheese in the news? It won’t surprise you to learn that it’s all to do with Brexit. Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is a big cheese in the Conservative government, rebuked his opposite number, Labour’s Angela Smith, for suggesting that if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal, prices of imported European cheeses could rise by 40%. Gove urged Ms Smith and anyone else feeling cheesed off at the prospect of Roquefort, Parmesan and Brie becoming unaffordable to adopt a more patriotic attitude and buy British cheeses instead. He may well have done so while wearing a cheesy grin since his demeanour is almost always cheerful. Indeed, he is so often seen with a smile on his face that those photographing him surely have no need to tell him to say cheese.

The word cheese has been in the English language for as long as it has existed, the first citations for it being found in early Old English texts dating from long before the Norman Conquest.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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