The other night at a friend’s house for dinner, the sight of  yellow rubber gloves at each otherwise autumnal place setting was slightly unsettling. She had promised a fun evening with food. Hmmmmm.  Since our host is a health professional, I was relieved the gloves weren’t of the surgical variety. Not too appetizing.

Turns out everything else was, especially the mozzarella we made with help from a kit Margee had bought online. ( www.cheesemaking.com or www.cheesesupply.com will work)  It’s crazy how magical it seemed to pour milk into a pot, mix in a little citric acid, water, and rennet, and wind up with mooshy curds  between my fingers (glove-covered, of course).  Funny to be in a Mother Goose rhyme with actual curds and whey on a Friday night. Within thirty minutes we were slicing beautiful, fresh mozzarella on homemade pizzas.  Quite yum.  Everyone else at dinner had read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/ I am ignorant, but that just makes learning things I should already know more fascinating.

Yesterday as I was raking leaves, I was thinking in the way that I think, with very few actual facts bouncing around inside my head, how the hell anyone ever figured out that rennet turned milk into cheese? http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Rennet/Rennet.html    Rather than actual thinking or fact-finding, it’s much more fun to imagine the poor little mother’s milk-drinking calf who ingested a lime and fell into a fire that didn’t exceed 135 degrees, was pulled from it, had its stomach cut open after exactly 4 minutes by someone both hungry and adventurous and then had the contents of its stomach sliced and diced into curds. Doesn’t sound nearly as tasty as what we ate. Had food-finding been up to me back in the day, we’d still be eating berries and nuts and nothing else. Thank goodness for more adventurous types because the perfectly rich and dense chocolate cake with raspberry sauce Margee made doesn’t grow on trees.

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