When it came time to take calls from listeners for our 100% cheese-filled episode "Say Cheese!," we knew there was only one person we could turn to for both entertaining and expert advice, the fabulous Tia Keenan. Keenan is a cheesemonger, activist and author of the books The Art of the Cheese Plate and Melt, Stretch and Sizzle: The Art of Cooking Cheese. She is absolutely obsessed with cheese, and it was a pleasure to have her in the studio for this call-in segment. Listen to the full segment on the audio player above; use the times below to find specific questions. Keenan also left us with her recipe for a decadent French-inspired cheese dish, Aligot (Tuber Fondue).

  • 00:00-00:32 - Keenan Introduction
  • 00:32-06:46 - Suggestions for a milder blue cheeses and ideas for using them in salads, sauces and on cheese plates
  • 06:46-09:00 - What is an affinuer and how does their work and expertise affect a cheese's character?
  • 09:00-13:25 - Advice for exploring new cheeses and for building well-rounded cheese plates
  • 13:25-19:30 - How do you determine what cheese to pair with specific food?
  • 19:30-26:41 - What is good funk and what is bad funk? Plus, good cheese-buying practices.
  • 26:41-28:45 - What are washed-rind cheeses?
  • 28:45-35:00 - What cheese would you bring to a "Cheese I Have Never Heard Of" Party?
  • 35:00-37:47 - Should you eat the rind? (It's complicated)
Francis Lam

Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table. He is the former Eat columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter. He graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America and has written for numerous publications. Lam lives with his family in New York City.