Archive for ‘Food Bites’

February 3rd, 2011

Feds Pick On “The Plain People” Over Raw Milk

by Venomous Kate

Home cheese making in the cheese cave Since I began trying my hand at home cheese making last month, I’ve found reason to scream at least once a week about the Fed’s ban on raw milk.

For one thing, using store-bought (pasteurized) milk means I have to add calcium chloride to reintroduce calcium to the milk (yes, really) so it can form the curd which is the basis of any cheese. Now, getting away from chemical additives in my food was one of the things that led me to home cheesemaking (along baking bread from scratch, making my own pasta, etc.) So it ticks me off that the government is basically forcing me to either buy food with additives, or use additives if I want to make my own food. That’s seriously overstepping some boundaries, if you ask me.

For another thing, the raw milk ban means our already cash-strapped government is spending big bucks prosecuting something rather minor. How minor? According to Boing-Boing, despite a thriving underground and black market among foodies (and just about anyone who owns their own cattle), raw milk is responsible for two — yes, just two — deaths in the last ten years.

Oh, and did I mention that these statistics are of such great concern to the Feds that they’re raiding Amish and Mennonite farms, guns drawn and voices screaming, like they were meth labs?

Honestly, it’s enough to make me give serious thought to packing up the Venomous Household and moving where we can enjoy unpasteurized cheese in peace and quiet. I hear France is lovely, now that hardly anyone still smokes. And at least I could get some decent Brie there.

Speaking of Brie… mine didn’t turn out. I’d love to blame the pasteurized milk for that, but the blame goes to my cat. Next time, I’ll remember not to leave the cheese press unattended while I shower. As they’d say in France (where they get to eat unpasteurized cheese to their hearts’ content), C’est la Brie.

Or something like that.

January 22nd, 2011

Just Another Day At The Venomous Homestead

by Venomous Kate

It’s Saturday, and as usual that means I’m tinkering in the kitchen. This Saturday, thanks to some weather-related damage, tinkering in my kitchen requires stepping around a contractor hired to stop the 14-foot tall mirrors over my fireplace from peeling away from the wall and crashing down on us. (Let me just tell you, it was terrifying to see those mirrors start shaking the other day!)

Today’s cooking started with making baked donuts for breakfast, because VH and the Big-Eyed Boy are crazy about them. The contractor liked them, too. Up next: homemade cheddar crackers followed by whole wheat sandwich bread for next week’s boxed lunches, then whole wheat fettuccine (using my new CucinaPro 150 Imperia Pasta Machine which I’m absolutely crazy about!) for tonight’s chicken alfredo, and some whole wheat bagels to go with the cream cheese I made yesterday. Oh, and while all that’s going I’m also making brie.

That’s right: I’m making brie.

See, for Christmas, VH bought me a book on making homemade cheese. It goes nicely with my latest foray into making homemade sausage and, well, what else does one serve on top of homemade crackers, right?

Now, the contractor, having polished off four of my baked donuts followed by a handful of freshly made crackers, was just floored when he learned I’m making cheese from scratch. A divorced guy who shares a house with two other divorced guys, his kitchen skills apparently run the gamut from pressing buttons on a microwave to pressing buttons on a phone. From what he said of his ex-wife, she was similarly skilled in the kitchen. That someone makes cheese (or donuts or crackers or bagels or bread) from scratch was, to him, nothing short of mind-boggling.

All of which is to say that the mirrors above my fireplace are now stable, the cracks they’d made in my wall have been beautifully repaired, the bill was less than half of what we expected AND he’s offered to come back next week to help VH pull up the cracked porcelain tile floor in the kitchen that I’ve been complaining about for the past, oh, 5 years. Of course, he’ll be coming Saturday afternoon because, as he put it, there’s no sense interrupting next week’s cooking session.

Somehow, I suspect he’s going to show up with an empty Tupperware container or two.