At 8:30 this morning I took my seat in a classroom at the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese (on the campus of UVM in Burlington), to start the first of a four-day- cheesemaking intensive course. This education for me is long overdue. As the editor of culture magazine, I’ve learned a lot on the job about what makes one wheel different from another, but there are big gaps in my cheese intelligence. What really happens (on a microbial level) when milk, starter, coagulant and a cheesemaker come together in a creamery? It was time I knew.
As promised, I’ll share my Valentines Day cooking adventure. Instead of cooking for one special someone, I helped run around for about twenty hungry companions. A friend, chef/ owner of Nudel Restaurant, and I collaborated on a cheese inspired Valentine’s Day tasting. Besides chopping and slinging sauté pans, I took the honor of picking out 4 contrasting and unique domestic cheeses from Rubiner’s...
The response to our V-day contest has been tremendous: thanks to everyone who sent in their verse. We've read the entries, and it was a tough choice selecting the winners of the Capriole Farmstead Bourbon Chocolate Hearts.
Like most people I look forward to Saturday, but for me it isn't the start of the weekend. Instead, it's my day at the Cheese Shop. After spending my weekdays working either as a freelance writer or running The Joy of Cheese, my series of informal cheese seminars, I spend Saturday afternoon and evenings at The Bedford Cheese Shop, and though exhausting, it's always enjoyable.
First of all, I've done this sort of work in the food business since I was 24 and since the next birthday is number 51, it's reassuring that I can still do something physically rigorous as well as I did when I was 28. It's a fact reinforced by my collegial relationship with my coworkers who are mostly in their late 20s and early 30s. But the real highlight is the cheese, it's what makes this kind of job, so much more than customer service.
Last Thursday night I taught a cheese and wine class pairing class at the 92nd St. Y, and it was wonderful in all the usual ways. The room was packed full with more than 30 people from a diverse range of ages. My collaborator, Beau Rapier, one of the managers at Uva Wines & Spirits, brought exceptional wines to match with the cheeses (the list is here), and the discussion was lively with thoughtful questions right from the outset. These classes typically run 90-105 minutes long but ours ran nearly two hours and fifteen minutes without anyone looking impatient or edgy. Afterward I was approached by a nice couple and asked, “so when will you open a store in this neighborhood.”
I've always wondered what happens the moment layouts for culture leave the confines of my computer, on their way to becoming a glossy magazine. The journey started three months ago with a lot of brainstorming and planning. Today is press day and I'm about to learn how culture becomes a magazine in my "behind the scenes" press trip at Lane Press in Burlington, VT.
10 February 2011
Perhaps the best meal I’ve ever had was at a roadside truck stop. In Italy. On Sunday. I can’t remember which exits it was between on the Autostrada, or even which number of Autostrada I was traveling on, but it doesn’t matter. Autogrill is at all of them, a fast-food convenience chain geared toward the casual traveler or the serious trucker, with a range of merchandise for either profile, or shades between.
In this particular case, though, the weapon was butter:
A Sicilian couple thought they had the perfect weapon to get rid of her ex-husband -- a slab of butter which would melt after they asphyxiated him, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported Saturday.