The editor’s guide to cheese

Blog, On editing

You read that correctly. This is indeed a post about cheese. I thought it would be useful to capture in one place the correct spellings of 10 of the cheeses most commonly used  in recipe books. Why? Because when editing a recipe book, it’s good to know exactly how each cheese is spelt and whether it takes a capital letter or not. Here’s my by no means definitive list:

Cheeses named by regions take a capital letter

1. Brie (from Brie, a region of northern France)

2. Cheddar (from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset)

3. Camembert (from Camembert, Normandy in northern France)

4. Gouda (named after the Dutch city of Gouda)

5. Gruyère (named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland)

6. Parmagiano-Reggiano or Parmesan (from the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia and  Bologna in Italy.  Parmagiano-Reggiano refers to Parmesan produced in Italy. The generic term Parmesan is used for cheeses produced elsewhere which are similar in flavour and production method.)

Cheeses named for their ingredients or production method take lower case

1. feta (from the Greek word, meaning ‘slice’)

2. mascarpone cheese (thought to have got its name from mascarpa, a milk product which is made from the whey of stracchino or short aged cheese. )

3. mozzarella (from a Neapolitan dialect,  it is the diminutive form of mozza meaning to ‘cut’)

4. pecorino (an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk; the word derives from the Italian pecora, which means sheep.)

It’s worth noting though, that the Guardian and Observer Style Guide suggests spelling all cheeses using lower case even if they’re named after a place.

As always, whatever you choose, make sure to be consistent throughout the text.

Written by Melissa Fagan, freelance non-fiction editor

I help non-fiction publishers deliver award-winning content using a creative and flawless approach to editing. Internationally qualified non-fiction editor with 11 years’ publishing experience.

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