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The Cheese Whiz: Sarah "The Cheese Lady" Kaufmann

What if Richard Serra worked with Gouda instead of steel? "The Cheese Lady" sculptor Sarah Kaufmann--a native of Madison, Wisconsin--brings art to the most local level possible, making topiary out of gargantuan blocks of cheese. Kaufmann has been working in cheese since 1996, and has received hundreds of commissions for her edible sculptures.

If you missed it, the cheese lady was on hand for the grand opening of Henry's Farmers Market in Burbank yesterday. Kaufmann carved a pumpkin-themed sculpture out of a 30-pound wheel of Wisconsin English Hollow Cheddar that had been aged in a cave for two years (with hints of guano?) by Maple Leaf Cheese Cooperative in Monroe, Wisconsin. Next time you've got too much Gouda on your hands, get out a paring knife and try it yourself.

Cheeeeeeeeeese
Cheeeeeeeeeese
http://www.sarahcheeselady.com

What can you possibly sculpt out of a huge lump of cheese? Here are a few of Kaufmann's famous works:

- A six-foot-long Aircraft Carrier for the USS Reagan

- A 120-pound Mickey Mouse

- A 300-pound gorilla

- A six-foot-long cheddar Gator for the University of Florida

- T.V. personalities (including Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Al

Roker and Ann Curry)

- Sports stars (Bret Favre and Mario Andretti)

"If you were born and raised in Wisconsin, surrounded by dairy cows, cheese factories and people who wear orange triangle hats as high fashion, you might think it would just seem... natural," Kaufmann has said.

In July, Kaufmann married Bill Parry, a retired U.S. Naval officer whom she met while presenting the 600 pound, USS Ronald Reagan cheese carving for the home-porting ceremony in San Diego. Even their wedding rings were modeled after dimpled wedges of cheese. "We met because of cheese, and everything we do is because of cheese," said Kaufmann.

Henry's Farmers Market: 1011 N. San Fernando Blvd, Burbank; 818 566-4089.