Soapy cheese
July 14, 2006 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Why does my cheese taste like soap?

I just bought a wedge of Parmesan cheese. I started grating it, and when I tasted a sample, it tasted like soap. I thought maybe it was the bowl, so I bit off a chunk of the wedge, and it still tasted like soap! I've had this experience before with food (can't remember now what it was). What's going on?
posted by Evangeline to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One time I noticed that cheese I bought from the grocery store always tasted like soap, but none of my roommates noticed. It turned out that the laundry detergent aisle was right next to the cheese. (They still didn't believe I could actually taste it.)
posted by transona5 at 2:55 PM on July 14, 2006

Could it have been in the same shopping bag with bath soap or detergent? I hate when that happens.
posted by crw at 3:27 PM on July 14, 2006

In Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the Best, Max McCallan identifies soapy flavors as a sign of overripeness.
posted by desuetude at 3:28 PM on July 14, 2006

Response by poster: It wasn't in the same bag with detergent - I think all I bought was an onion and the cheese. Maybe desuetude is right and its overripe. Now I can't get the taste out of my mouth. I'm making an anniversary dinner for my husband and everything tastes like soap to me.
posted by Evangeline at 3:38 PM on July 14, 2006

Ah, my grandmother would have loved to have had some of that cheese: she could have fed us and punished us for "potty mouth" at the same time.
posted by persona non grata at 4:36 PM on July 14, 2006

Many edible items as they get old, they develop a soapy taste. Tea leaves are notorious for becoming like that, I haven't personally heard of cheese though. The reason is mainly the ability to absorb certain smells from the air, it could be that there was close by soap or other spices, also sometimes certain plastics have the same problem, even if that cheese was covered with plastic wrap, the strange taste can penetrate. Try to check the wrap and examine it for suspicious tastes.
posted by convex at 7:51 PM on July 14, 2006

From this website:

Rancid--The rancid flavor is soapy and disagreeable. It is caused by the activity of the enzyme lipase that yields butyric acid. It is more likely that you will find this defect in aged cheese.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:51 PM on July 14, 2006

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