…okay, maybe casu marzu still reigns.

Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, avert thine eyes! Hide your kids, hide your wives.

This post is what happens after a ridiculously silly conversation with my brother which somehow ended with me attempting to offend him by saying I’d “fart in your milk, turning it sour, making it curdle and eventually forming fart cheese”. Not one of my prouder moments, but oh well.

This led me to thinking about a belly button cheese I remember reading about a while back. After some “research”, you’re welcome!

By the way, casu marzu is a Sardinian “putrefied cheese infested with live, wriggling maggots“. Some choose to remove the maggots before eating the cheese, others not so much.

Cheese made from food writer Michael Pollan's belly button bacteria
Cheese made from food writer Michael Pollan’s belly button bacteria

Back to the belly button cheese.  The project called Selfmade,  is a collaboration between microbiologist Christina Agapakis and Norwegian odor artist/researcher Sissel Tolaas, and features 11 cheeses made from human toe, armpit, belly button, mouth bacteria among others.  The exhibit was on display at Trinity College Dublin’s “Grow Your Own – Life After Nature” through January 19.

Agapakis says, “Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet.

Supposedly, each  of these cheeses not only smell like the donor’s body odor… they also taste of it. While not made for consumption, Agapakis admits to tasting a cheese that she cultured with bacteria from her own mouth. “It had just been strained and pressed and was very fresh. It didn’t have a very strong flavor, but it was fine. It just tasted like cheese.”

Cheese made of microbes from cheesemaker Seana Doughty's mouth.
Cheese made of microbes from cheesemaker Seana Doughty’s mouth.

“We want people to be more accepting of bacteria in our bodies, have a better relationship with our bodies and the environment,” she said. “People can be healthier and have a more positive relationship with the whole world if we can live in peace with bacteria.”

Cheese made from microbiologist Ben Wolfe's toe microbes
Cheese made from microbiologist Ben Wolfe’s toe microbes