Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Who Moved My Cheese?

This is not a parable about affecting change in the business world. This is a tragic tale about the mysterious disappearance of my cheese. Let us begin at the beginning, where all things begin.

I found a clandestine dealer of raw cows milk. OK, maybe she’s not that clandestine. I found her on Craigslist. She’s pretty cool. Down to earth, has some meat rabbits and goats. She wears a Carhartt jacket, which gives her farm cred. She made me sign a bunch of forms informing me that raw cow’s milk is not for human consumption and if I were to drink it or feed it to my family, fiery asteroids would rain down on me and if I survived that, I would be charged with endangering my children in a federal court. And they would televise it on Court TV, a fate worse than death. Now every week, I go and fetch a gallon or two of the best tasting milk my family has ever had. Her cow is a Jersey so the cream takes up a full two inches of the jar. Even I tried a few swallows and I don’t generally like milk.

Having all this milk in the house has inspired me to make some cheese. I started with mozzarella and quickly decided that wasn’t enough. In the classic fashion of an easily bored, overachieving slacker, I wanted to make something better, right now, without practicing. So I decided to make Monterey Jack with a kit I got from Mountain Feed, the place where many of my harebrained schemes are hatched. It was easy. Time consuming but easy. The bad ass stove (BAS) has a habit of heating things too quickly so I had to watch it every second. For three hours I toiled. I broke one thermometer but as a former assistant to a Cub Scout leader, I had a spare. (Cub Scouts? Long horrific tale about the time my former Eagle Scout father insisted I be the broken arm victim during the Cub Scout meeting so the troop could practice splinting my arm. I was so shy and it was so awful. Excuse me, I have to call my counselor now.) After the three hours it takes to cook said cheese, I strained it into the cheese cloth and pressed it into the mold. For the next 12 hours I monitored the cheese, increasing the weight of the press as directed. When ready, I removed the cheese, placing it in a 54 degree room to begin drying. This is where the crime happened. The cheese, swaddled in its cloth, was dry but I didn’t have time to wax it. (This is not a process of removing hair. It’s the process of coating the cheese in that lovely wax which protects it for the duration of its curing.) Doing the best I could, I wrapped it in Saran wrap in order to stop it from further drying out and set it back in the baking pan and covered it with a metal colander, which in my mind was as good as putting a little suit of armor upon its cheesy goodness.

Last night, just two, short days later it was gone. I shrieked. I gnashed my teeth. I pulled at my hair. I demanded a search but we all knew the criminal was among us. One of our own. Normally, Hamish is suspect number one but in this case, I didn’t believe he was actually capable of moving a whole wheel of cheese. There was only one creature who would eat the whole thing. No. Not Dave. Chaos. Baaaaaaad dog.

At that point, I became concerned that there was no Saran wrap to be found. She appeared a little bloated but certainly not uncomfortable. Then I wondered if she had eaten the cheese and already…um…passed the plastic? That seemed unlikely knowing how much plastic wrap was around the wheel of cheese. I vowed to monitor her for the next 12 hours. I had an acquaintance whose dog ate a diamond and they followed it around for weeks, searching through its poo to no avail. I am not going to be that person. Either there’s plastic wrap in there or there’s not. With that said, I did get up twice last night to check on her and make sure she wasn’t showing any symptoms of shock. She was not. She looked bright eyes and bushy-tailed. The picture of a well fed dutch shepherd. So who ate the plastic wrap then?

Tonight, 24 hours after the crime was discovered, the crime was solved. As I was preparing dinner, Hamish started his post litter box happy dance, which starts with a victory lap around the house, followed by some line backer leaps to the side and usually finishes with a climb up the back of the couch. It’s rather convenient that he gives us this warning because by the time he’s done, the smell starts to waft through the house. The smell of the rotting insides of a hairless cat. I don’t know what makes him smell that bad but the song “Smelly Cat” might have been written for him. I rushed to the litter box with my gloves and my plastic bad and what to my wonder did I find but this:

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That dear reader is half of my wheel of cheese and all of the plastic wrap. Why it’s in the litter box is beyond me. Perhaps someone is saving it for later. In retrospect, it explains why she has been more into the litter box than normal. For the last two days she has had litter caked on her nose. Just on the part she can’t lick off.

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The moral of the story? “Hide thine cheese well for hound and hairless cat are circling your cellar.” Or maybe, “Cheese without protection will end in the litter box.” Or, “Dog are gross. Really, really gross.”