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Say cheese: Today is National Cheese Day

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Most people don't have to be reminded to eat this food because it is so popular. However, in case you didn't know, June 4 is National Cheese Day. Cheese is probably in all households right now.

There are many types of cheese. Over 500 different varieties are recognized by the International Dairy Federation and more than a thousand by other agencies. The varieties may be classified into types according to age, texture, methods of making, fat content, animal milk, country or region of origin.

Cheese is derived from milk that is produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms by coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. Some cheeses have molds on the rind or throughout. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.

The nutritional value of cheese varies widely. Cottage cheese may consist of 4% fat and 11% protein; some whey cheeses 15% fat and 11% protein, and some triple-crème cheeses 36% fat and 7% protein. Cheese supplies a great deal of calcium, protein, phosphorus and fat. A 1.1 oz. serving of Cheddar cheese contains about 7 grams of protein and 200 milligrams of calcium. Nutritionally, cheese is essentially concentrated milk: it takes about 200 grams of milk to provide that much protein, and 150 grams to equal the calcium.

There are so many dishes made with cheese. For example cheese is put in eggs for breakfast, on a hamburger for lunch and in a macroni and cheese dish for dinner. Of course, you can have a stick of string cheese for a snack. Remember also to put a slice of cheese on your apple pie for dessert.

As if you needed another reason to eat cheese, some experts claim having cheese at the end of a meal is good for preventing tooth decay.

If you think you know a lot about cheese, then prove it. Take a short quiz about identifying the types of cheese.

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