Greatest news ever. Scientists have quit messing around with genomes and cancer and trips to Mars and have finally buckled down to making cheese out of feet bacteria. They’re using belly button and armpit bacteria also. Some day we will be able to give our loved ones personal cheese that smells like us. I’d be interested in a cheese that smelled like my own feet, because I haven’t been able to get my nose close to my feet since I was ten months old.

They got the idea because some of the stinkiest cheeses contain bacteria that are very similar to armpit and toe bacteria. And they discovered that a cheese made from an individual’s feet bacteria would in fact smell like that individual. Many of us do smell like cheese, so it might not be much of a distinction.

You make cheese by conflagellating milk protein until it drops its guard, and then you can bomb it with rennet and bust it up into curds and whey. Rennet is an enzyme found in an animal’s stomach, and you pretty much have to kill the animal to scrape the rennet out of it, which is one reason vegans disdain cheese, although another reason is they think milking animals is rude in general. I’m not sure it is. Milking a cow and squirting your little city niece who only wants to see what you’re doing in the barn is rude, in my opinion.

You could make a cheese yourself if you had some milk and some stomach scrapings from a deceased cow. The only thing else you’d need is a nice wad of bacteria or mold for flavor. Lucky for you, you have tons of choices here, if you don’t soap up much, and aren’t a whackadoodle about keeping a clean kitchen. Just rub a cloth between your toes and wipe down the counter once a month or so and wring it out over your milk and dead cow bits. Presto Cheeso.

It is thought that cheese might have been discovered accidentally when someone decided to store milk in an animal stomach, as one does. The oldest preserved cheese ever found was found in China and is over 3600 years old. It was fed to a Norwegian to see what happened. Nothing happened. The Norwegian ate it right up on a cracker and asked if there was any rotting fish to pair it with, and then he took his clothes off and rolled in the snow.

The researchers involved in the Personal Cheese breakthrough first gather their bacterial jam from pertinent personal areas and then identify an individual’s personal scent signature using gas chromatography, which means they detain the bacteria in a sealed room and interrogate them until they confess. Progress has been slow. In nearly all higher learning institutions with an active program for concentrating armpit odor, the laboratories have been consigned to the edges of the parking lot, and turnover is fierce. What with the researchers having to whack their way through the throng of bib-wearing Norwegians on a daily basis, most have concluded it just isn’t worth it. The remainders have produced acceptable foot cheese and discovered it smells like cheese, and even so, they have difficulty getting published.

It’s just as well. I’d be mildly curious to try a cheese made from Dave’s footular bacteria. He walks 15 miles a day and most of his bacteria are squashed flat, but even if they could harvest some around the toe intersections, if the cheese smelled like him it wouldn’t smell much at all. He is mildly salty. I’m guessing he’d make a decent mozzarella stick and that’s about it.