Dirt under the fingernails from a day in the garden is blissful. Why not take it one step further with animal flesh under the fingernails? I spent the day scraping raw hide from a lovely mountaint goat and it was glorious. Every animal has enough brain to tan itself.
It’s another one of those moments in life where you do that double take like seriously there ya so so much to learn. Even in this one skill, the complexities and subtleties are endless. I’ve tanned a couple of skins now and I reckon I need to put about 9,999 more hours in befor I get to that sweet spot. (They say that you’ve got to put your 10,000 hours in to master a skill rifght?) actually, to get the skins beautiful, soft and luscious like the true buckskin trousers of Old you’d probably need a few more hours on top of that.
I’ve got to say, I loved the process and even made my son a nice rabbit fur hat, this one tanned with oil and egg yolk. Every one of these traditional skills is so labour intensive that you can see h...
Cheese culture is spreading. That is to say that European style cheeses are growing more popular in Asia (including India and Sri Lanka). But who will benefit? Is a market being forged for excellent and diverse farmstead cheese where it has never been made or is the New World Order of the Cheese Single being forged?
Large swathes of Asians are famously lactose intolerant, and historic dairy products of Asia like Mongolian mare’s milk Airag or Indian curd (yoghurt),are all lacto- fermented , which means that a lactose intolerant person could ingest the products without any of the unpleasant side effects associated with an upset stomach. A lot of Western dairy produce that is becoming popular in Asia are unfermented, like the ever popular 'Pizza Cheese' and sweet creamy products. These contain relatively high amounts of Lactose, or milk sugars, and its not just people with Lactose Intolerance that could benefit from fermented dairy products and all the wonderful an...
'Out of Vermont Kitchens' A 1950s recipe book belonging to my step grandmother and including 'shortening' for Mince Meat Drop Cookies
Daydreams whilst binding cheddar: Post origins
Not an entirely cheese related post, except for the fact that making Lard Rubbed Cheddar got me onto the subject. A friend of mine was horrified that I would use lard and not butter to bind my cheddar. For anyone not familiar with the process, when making traditional cloth bound cheddar, one wraps it in cloth, much in the fashion of swaddling a baby, and then liberally rubs lard or butter into the clothe. When the cheddar is ready in 3+ months’ time, the cloth is removed and discarded. The butter, therefore, is wasted and therefore lard is a cheaper choice. It is interesting that we have developed a fear of lard and other animal fat derivatives as a nation. Cooking in lard is on the rise but still not enough.
Okay. I admit it too. Vegetable oil makes cooking easier. You can pour it on your fluffed up, par boi...
Cheese is well known to give people bad dreams. But can Dairy take you into another world?
Any shaman’s voyage into another world starts with a trance-like state. When we are babies, we drink milk. This milk either ends up thrown up and coagulated on our mother’s shoulder, or it is consumed and it nourishes us. The first milk, the thick and rich colostrum, gives us the necessary antibodies and helps our immune system. Our Mother’s milk calms and soothes us and puts us to sleep.
Making cheese is another trance-inducing process because it is an inherently rhythmic one - inoculating the milk and adding the rennet into a huge, cauldron-like vat. Then the slow stirring of the curd, often with one other person, both arm-deep in curds and whey. My boss at a New Zealand artisan dairy used to call this stirring ‘tuning into the curd’ which meant relying on feel to know when to drain the whey off and press the curds into a cheese, rather than relying on a recipe.