I would call myself a creative person. If we analyze the desk where I am currently sitting, I can see:
- Paint and paint brushes
- A heaping pile of canvases
- Sewing pins
- Fabric scraps
- Watercolor pencils
- A Camera
- A Mac- the signature laptop of the artsiest of fartsy
All signs point to creating things. That being said, it only makes sense, that I repeatedly turn to the wisdom of the once great Craft Corner Death Match:“And don’t forget, it’s cheaper and easier just to buy stuff.”- The sign off of every death match.
Thinking back, at no point in my life has that been more true than when I just tried to make my own mozzarella.
My sister got me a cheese making kit for Christmas because I mentioned previously wanting to take a cheese making class. Perfect! I could make my mozzarella from the comfort of my home without having to talk to anyone because Stranger Danger!
All I needed to buy was a gallon of milk! I’m not a big milk fan, so I was kind of grossed out coming out of the gate. (This apartment has never held more milk than is required to make a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese.) I am, however, a major cheese fan, and in much the same way that April showers bring May flowers, and Mayflowers bring subsequent pilgrims, milk brings cheese, so it can’t be too disgusting.
Probable results for you normals:It includes everything you need to make delicious cheese, and the process is interesting because real life science happens when you make cheese. So much so, I got startled and screamed at least twice. More realistically…
Basically what happened in my kitchen:The cheese betrayed me. Or was it science? Or was instructions that included phrases like, “be gentle with the curds”? (“But I like to beat up my curds, instructions! And yell insults so they feel bad about themselves!”)
Things that happened (And my advice):
- Science. Your kit comes with a fancy thermometer, assorted salts and chemicals, and gloves. Plastic gloves. If that doesn’t scream, “I’m doing important things to better society through science” I don’t even know what we’re doing here.
- I tried cooking dinner at the same time. When things happen in this process they happen quickly, so you go from slowly heating up the milk and chopping vegetables for your stir fry to frantically dissolving citric acid in supposed-to-be-chlorine-free-water** with one hand and turning off all other stove burners with the others. “JUST GIVE ME A SECOND, VEGETABLES! THE CHEESE IS HAPPENING.” (Read the instructions before you start.)
- I screamed twice. As mentioned previously, when things happen, they happen quickly, especially when it comes to science. The pan full of milk went from looking like it had dreams of going bad to straight up curding (I’m pretty sure that’s what you call that) within the course of ten seconds. I screamed once because it was happening, and then I screamed twice because IT WAS HAPPENING! (Science happens. Unless you’re shouting “Eureka!” don’t scream about it.)
When in doubt, read things.
- I got really mad and indignant about not having a microwave and then immediately realized they have instructions for people who don’t have a microwave. So yes, should not have immediately gotten angry about it, but as I came to discover, the sans-microwave option was complicated and weird, and stretched an “under an hour” process to “longer than three hours” process. (Have a microwave)
- I accidentally ripped my protective gloves that were provided to protect my hands from hot cheese balls. I ripped them when I was putting them on. Which meant, the “these cheese balls are really hot so you need to protect your hands” portion of the evening was compromised from the get. (Don’t think, “Eh- My hands are probably fine.” Two hands are typically the optimal number of hands.)
- Nerve damage. See above.
- Accidentally dropped half my mozzarella down the sink. Kneading three of my mozzarella globs together into a bigger glob, I got distracted and accidentally dropped it into my sink. After staring at my fallen solider for about 45 seconds, trying to decide if tales of your kitchen sink being the grossest part of your house were overblown, I decided it wasn’t worth it and threw it out. I just lost half of my cheesy yield. (Don’t get distracted? I wouldn’t know how to do that.)
In conclusion, yes, it would have been cheaper and easier just to go buy the cheese from the grocery store, but who can say they know how to make cheese? (I live in Wisconsin. Probably a lot of people.) But if the zombie apocalypse happens, all I need is a cow and access to a laboratory full of cheese-chemicals, and I can contribute something to the new post-apocalyptic society. Because let’s face it, I’m one of those people who would have to make a case for keeping me around.
Would I buy the kit again? Genuinely, the process is interesting and weird, and now that the learning curve is out of the way*** I think I could swing real life cheese next time. Or swing closer?
Tune in tomorrow to see what I do with the mozzarella that didn’t end up down the kitchen sink.
*This blog post is riveting.
**If we use my hair and skin as a gauge, my region’s water is basically all chemical.
***Still totally there, just not quite as curvy