In my twenties, when I was writing cooking columns for a weekly newspaper and had access to good, rich Jersey milk, I made cheese. And butter. I learned the latter skill from my grandmother, and I’ve passed it on to several groups of elementary students. The cheese-making skills came from books and experimentation.
Now, because I have access to good local cheeses, it has been a while since I felt the need to make my own. I wasn’t sure I remembered how, so I decided to spend a Monday afternoon getting reacquainted with the skill. My instructions came from Claudia Lucero’s One-Hour Cheese. I started with a quart of whole milk from our village grocery store and a recipe called “First-Timers Cheese in 5 Steps.”
The recipe requires only milk, vinegar, and salt. I added Penzey’s Sunny Paris seasoning (shallots, dill, and other lovely tastes). I followed the easy directions, and it was as easy as the name implies. In twenty minutes, the man was tasting what I’d created.
Lucero’s book has a list of necessary tools, but this easy recipe requires only a 2-quart saucepan (I used stainless steel), a bowl, a slotted spoon, and measuring utensils, of course.
The tasty curds were lovely on our dinner salad.
My next experiment will be to make cheese using whole powdered milk. Will it coagulate? Will it taste as good?
- If there are disruptions in the food supply, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your food storage can produce real cheese?
- And because I’m reading Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening and I came across this tiny treasure of wisdom:
“Reliance on self-reliance…presumes that you have an ample supply of every necessity and that other survivors (who will all be in the same boat) will let you keep it to yourself. (Should you even want to, considering that you will all need one another’s help?)”
Desperation and greed both make grand entrances when times are hard. There is less desperation and less danger if we work together in communities, when we invite the wanderer to be part of the community.
More important than sharing your supplies will be sharing your knowledge. It is the one thing you can never have too much of. It is the thing that marauders can’t take from you so long as you are alive. And your supply of knowledge isn’t diminished when you share; it grows.