Who moved the cheese? It was a group effort …

I’m traveling at the moment; now in New York City for a two-day training. The Melrose sisters came down to the city convent yesterday for some meetings here, which usually requires a few little adjustments to our daily routines; call someone to come let Simon out and feed him, check on the cats, set the ducks up in their straw bale mansions if we won’t be back in time to put them to bed before the big predators begin the nightly hunt.

This time we had a more unusual concern: I had (unwisely) begun making a wheel of cheese on Monday, forgetting that it really requires some periodic attention over a three-day period.

Uh-oh. The third day—yesterday—was the day for the cheese to soak in a brine solution for 24 hours, including a few turns so the top of the floating cheese would get the full brine-benefit to make its rind. Now what to do?

Ever creative, we put the cheese, brine and all, into a five gallon bucket with a lid on it, and hauled it down here. Of course the purpose of the lid was to keep the brine solution from sloshing out, so I put the lid on tight.

A little too tight, as it turned out. Once here I couldn’t get it off, so I left the contraption in my room to attend the meetings. When I had a chance I asked Sr. Lilli Ana to give me a hand by trying to get the lid off, but our meetings didn’t leave much time … sooooo …. at 4:00 when we finished and the other sisters were ready to head home, the peripatetic cheese was still floating around unturned, the lid still jammed on the bucket.

Ah, well. I tried. The rind may not form properly. The cheese may crack. The whole shootin’ match may fall apart in the car on the way back to Melrose. Or maybe everything will come out just fine and we’ll have another wheel of delicious homemade cheese in three weeks. Maybe this odd trip will actually add something fabulous to the cheese that we’ll want duplicate in future cheese production. We’ll just have to wait and see.

That’s one of the interesting lessons learned in reconnecting with food. Sometimes a lot of effort results in — a lot of effort. But sometimes all that work results in a taste (and health) treat unmatched in any corporate American grocery store. And oh, is it ever worth it.

So don’t be afraid to take your cheese out for a little drive. Who knows? You may discover something entirely new and fabulous. It’s worth a try.

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