Losing one's rind


May 11, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: Do I need to cut the rind off cheeses when eating them? How about when using them in cooking?

A: Brie and semi-soft cheeses have rinds that are fine to eat, although chewier and more highly flavored rinds are an acquired taste for some. Cheeses such as Parmesan, however, have a very tough coating that should be removed before eating. A wax coating should also be removed. When cooking with cheese with an edible rind, some folks like to leave it on, but as a general rule, the dish will have a more consistent texture without the rind.

Q: What is prosciutto and how do you pronounce it?

A: The Diner's Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1993), describes Italian prosciutto as simply meaning "ham" (it's from an earlier word, presuitto, which literally translates to dried beforehand). In English, it refers more specifically to smoked Italian ham which is eaten in paper-thin slices, often with sweet fruit such as melon or figs. It's pronunciation: proh-SHOO-toh.

Send questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.

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