Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Microbe Management

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Started the Sunday procedure around 9:00AM today. Many things to take care of. I break a sweat this morning, There is lots of scrubbing, turning, scrubbing, salting, scrubbing, stacking, scrubbing, soaking, scrubbing, rinsing, scrubbing, sweeping, scrubbing, spraying, and wiping.
Three hours later, I turn off the lights and lock up. The day is bright and sunny. I'm going to explore along the River Dart today.

Making cheese is like making music. A musician or composer writes a song to share an idea. A cheesemaker makes a cheese to share a way of life. Both offer ways of connecting, of sharing oneself. A song has a more immediate rate of return. Cheese reveals its potential more slowly. It takes weeks or months to mature and reveal it's potential, it's flavor.

What happens in between the time a cheese is made and when it is eaten? It matures. The bacteria and molds and the proteins do a dance with enzymes. They change and grow. They break down. A cheese is ripe when it reaches the point that we find most pleasing. It is an imprecise science. That's why cheesemakers are artists. Robin Congdon once said in a interview that cheesemaking was like farming microbes. You are coaxing, guiding, and encouraging the beneficial bacteria, enzymes and molds to achieve an outcome that is something close to what you hoped for. This skill comes with experience. This experience is what drew me to Ticklemore. I am so happy that Nick and Ben and Liz are so open and eager to share their knowledge with me. I wish I could bring them all with me when I start making my own cheese. It helps to have someone around who knows the drill.

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