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THE PROCRAFTINATOR AND THE CHEESE FIXATION

 Let’s face it, cheese is expensive. Even if you’re not buying the fancy “artisan cheese” that costs one arm, two legs, and half your mortgage, it’s still on the pricey side. Add in two family members who seek out cheese like demented mice, and you’re looking at some serious bucks spent on dairy. Being the sort who does not shy away from culinary adventures (except for bugs; not down with that at ALL), I decided to try my hand at cheese making. I collected pans, utensils, and other assorted equipment.

I even bought a book.

After reading through one of the basic recipes several times, I felt confident enough to start. First step, heat the milk to ninety degrees. That part was easy; I only burned myself once. Next, go to the fridge to retrieve the rennet, which is the stuff that turns milk into cheese. Step three, pick up the stupid tiny little rennet bottle that decided to shoot out of my hand when I tripped on the mudroom rug.

Step four, think up rude names for the factory gorilla that used a torque wrench to close the stupid tiny little bottle. Step five, wipe rennet off of glasses and face when stupid tiny little bottle cap suddenly gives way. Step six, stir rennet into milk while muttering obscenities. Assure self that said obscenities will no doubt encourage the milk to curdle faster.

Step seven, eat handful (or six) of chocolate chips while waiting for milk to become cheese. Step eight, use knife to cut curds. Step nine, go through three more knives before finding one with a blade long enough to reach the bottom of the pot. Step ten, cook and stir the curds until the whey is released and your spouse is looking over your shoulder and saying, “What the bleep is THAT?”

Step eleven, drink. Anything. As long as it’s not milk.

Step twelve, drain the curds by pouring them into a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Step thirteen, rub bruises caused by slip-and-fall, which was caused by stepping on curds that leaped to freedom by cascading over the edge of the strainer. Step fourteen, press cheese by creating a fabulous Erector Set of water-filled containers, all piled on top of the cloth-wrapped curds. Step fifteen, mutter dire threats as to what awaits anyone who even breathes in the direction of the kitchen.

Step sixteen (several hours later), unwrap the cheese and present it to your family with suitable fanfare. Step seventeen, hear your spouse say, “Tastes like cheese. Why didn’t you just go to the store?”

Step eighteen, graciously accept candy and flowers presented by spouse after he is made to see the error of his ways.

Maybe I should stick with knitting …