Current Weather
The Spy FM

A Food Sculptor On Her Passion: ‘The Cheese Found Me’

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
November 13, 2011

Michelangelo used marble. Sarah Kaufmann uses cheese.

What drew this sculptor to her material? A strong affinity for tangy cheddar or the fact that she hails from the proudest cheese state in the nation, Wisconsin?

No, as Kaufmann tells The Salt, “The cheese found me.”

What’s more, she says, “it’s much more delightful than working with wood or stone. You can snack while you work.”

Last week, Kaufmann practiced her craft inside a grocery store in Arlington, Va. The sculpture, commissioned for Veterans Day and the Wounded Warrior Project, depicts a soldier carrying an injured comrade over his shoulders.

Kaufmann, in professional circles and beyond, is known as “the Cheese Lady.” She’s one of three professional cheese sculptors in the U.S., but she’s also part of a growing movement of artists bringing food art out of state fairs and into the mainstream. (Check out the Experimental Food Society’s site for some wild food art happening on the other side of the pond.)

Three years ago, Kaufmann was able to make cheese sculpting her full-time job. Weddings, Super Bowl parties, corporate groups and dairy associations keep Kaufmann busy carving into huge blocks of cheese, she says. Her creations have ranged from a life-size Santa Claus to a 6-foot-long model of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

Kaufmann started the wounded warrior tribute on Tuesday with two 640-pound blocks of Wisconsin medium cheddar. Using ceramic tools and a modified draw knife – usually used for wood carvings — she worked more than 50 hours to finish the sculpture by Friday. The cheese will last up to eight weeks if cared for properly, she says, and then it will be donated to a farm.

“It’s emotion,” she says of food art. “It comes to life.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

12AM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center