Say Cheese

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I have absolutely no idea how to make Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, or Rice Krispies (or as my literate kids correct me, it’s Honey O’s, Wheat Biscuits, and Crisp Rice–we buy the generic stuff in the big bags.) Manufacturers can charge whatever they want for cereal and other stuff we don’t know how to make ourselves. I’ve never in my life made crackers. That’s how they can charge $4 for a little bitty box.

I have made yogurt before. Simple enough. Non-fat milk powder, water, and a tablespoon of active live cultures found in a carton of Mountain High. The only hard part is, you need a warm incubator in which the homemade yogurt can roost all day. In Arizona that was easy: my garage. It was like a sauna May through September. I haven’t made yogurt since we left. I think I’ll give it another whirl this summer in my slightly cooler garage. I’m tired of paying through the nose for what is basically a bacterial process.

Which brings me to my next moldy conquest–a fermentational feat. I want to try cheese. I know, is it really worth the trouble? We’ll soon find out. Barbara Kingsolver has me acting all out of sorts lately. Last week I read the chapter on cheese making in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I’m all gung-ho. According to her, mozzarella is just a 30 minute ordeal from start to finish plus your kids get to pull it like taffy until it cools. Cool. Her cream cheese is supposedly simple and infinitely more delicious.

I haven’t ordered my bacteria packets online yet, but I did resist the urge to toss the $13 package of cheese sticks into my economy sized cart yesterday. But then when I asked a handful of Super Walmart employees where I might find the cheese cloth, I got nothing but blank stares. Hmmm, I believe I’ll have to find some sort of specialty store.

Basically, I don’t want to be taken advantage of at the supermarket anymore. (How do they make Rice Krispies? (Sorry, Crisp Rice.) No really, how? I have the rice. Now what??) With a little know-how, I want to be able to feed my family well for pennies on the dollar. I’ll make my own apron that says, “Kiss the Frugal Chef.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go to the gourmet kitchen shop and buy a couple of cheese thermometers, some books on cheese making, a stainless steel double boiler, cheese cloth, a heating pad, glass storage containers, an electric cheese slicer…..

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4 responses »

  1. oh, can’t wait to see the results. never, ever thought of making my own cheese. we made our own peanut butter a couple of weeks ago. just blend peanuts in a blender and add the teensiest amount of oil to smooth it out. i don’t know how much cheaper it was but it was refreshing to know it’s mostly just nuts in there….

  2. Margaret,
    I will share my homemade yogurt recipe with you. You don’t need an appliance, you just use a camping cooler. THEN, you can make yogurt cheese! I made it once and I was expecting something different–it’s more like cream cheese. Anyway, happy fermenting!

  3. That slow cooker recipe has me so excited to try something new. Thanks so much for posting! I have been so disappointed lately in the amount of sugar in most of the yogurts the kids like. It will be a good change to try and make my own on the weekends. Thanks for the post.

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