11.26.2005

A quick lesson in moldology

I've been taking a step back lately and looking at myself. I decided that it must be pretty interesting to be me. How so? Well let me take a moment to explain myself.

First, I'm a self diagnosed hypochondriac.

Second, I'm mildly obsessive compulsive. At this point you could ask yourself this, "Is she really obsessive compulsive or is she making this all up."

Third, I'm extremely paranoid about mold. This one may need some detailing. It goes like this, mold isn't good for you. If you are allergic to it, it can be deadly. Now how would one go about knowing if they were allergic to mold or not? Most people can determine their mold allergy status by simply being around it and experiencing the typical allergy symptoms, such as a running nose, itchy eyes etc. Now here's the problem, if you're like me and you're allergic to most things that are airborne, you can't tell what is causing the allergic reaction, the mold or say, the dust or pollen, or someone's overuse of perfume.

So this brings me to my final point. If you aren't positive you are allergic to mold and you eat a piece of moldy bread or cheese and you are allergic to it you could potentially die. Am I right?

Oh now here is an interesting biology fact for you. When you see the mold flower (the green parts) on your food or whatever, the mold has already spread itself through out the entire thing. Try and think of it this way: if you put a time release capsule of water inside of a sponge and waited for it to go off, you wouldn't know when the capsule burst until the water reached the edges of the sponge. Mold works the same way. It could be inside your loaf of bread or brick of cheese for days before you know its there.

And people think I'm crazy when I won't eat cheese that they "just cut the mold off of."


sorry I got a little sidetracked and didn't finish my original thought process. I wont bore you with that now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't mold itself cheese, though? Aren't there good molds, too? Did you see the new January 1 Awake with the article on mold? I thought you may have been excited to see that!

{daniel}

say rah! said...

the only cheeses that i eat are unpasturized goat or sheep milk cheeses. i sometimes buy them from small quirky vendors and they are often quirky looking cheeses. many of them have some sort of white or grey coating on the outside. sometimes this is just discoloration from the brine, sometimes it's some sort of leaf or ash it was cured in, and sometimes it's mold. it's often hard for me to tell the difference so i typically just shave off the outsides of all my cheeses. one time i was hanging out at the local farmers market talking to the cheese lady who is also the goat milk lady and the aforementioned cheese coatings led me to ask her a few questions. this is the rough outline of the conversation that ensued:

Sara: hey cheese lady, i'm supper allergic to mold. it will make me puff up like the michelin man and stop breathing and suffocate and i was wondering; how dangerous is it to eat moldy cheese?

Cheese Lady: for certain soft cheeses, the mold that is on the outside of them is harmless, and sometimes essencial in the make of the cheese, but for most cheeses, especially the hard ones, the mold that will grow on the outside can be harmfull when ingested so to be safe you'd likely feel most comfortable cutting any mold off of all your cheeses. however, mold in general isn't all bad. cheese itself is mold and eating beneficial molds (sometimes also politely referred to as 'fermenting agents') such as those found in things like cheese, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, miso, natto, etc. can actually help stabilize internal flora and help you to be less sensitive to the occasionally unavoidable exposure to harmful molds.

i don't know all that much about cheese or mold but from what i can tell cheese lady seems to know her way around in the world of cheese (she does make some very tastey cheeses) and that is the gist of what she had to say... so that is all i have to say...