Word of Mouth: Quark

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Quark n. soft, European cheese similar to cream cheese

No, it's not a subatomic particle. The first time I heard quark mentioned in a gastronomic context I was confused; what was this - a crossover from long forgotten physics lectures? It turns out that quark is a very soft, mild cheese that is common in Europe but especially in Germany. It is a simple pot cheese like ricotta, queso blanco, or paneer, traditionally created by leaving the cheese hanging in a cloth and letting the whey drip off.

The German word quark, however, was used in James Joyce's book Finnegans Wake and may indeed have inspired the name of the subatomic particle. Hmm. Particle physics and cheese...

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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