Sunday, November 13, 2011


I marvel at cheese. Curdled milk, lovingly seperated from the whey, drained and aged. A process so simple you can do it in your own kitchen in just a few hours, and so complex people have dedicated their lives to its perfection. Cheese is a happy process, I have never met an unhappy cheese maker. They know what their cows, goats and sheep have been nibbling on, they know what their cheeses sound like when you tap on their rinds. They're happy to tell you which day of the year you should open up each batch of cheese and the perfect vintage for the glass beside it.

My father used to make fresh mozzarella every day in his butcher shop. I'll never forget the milky-sweet scent that filled the back room of the shop each morning at sunrise. I can still see him, steel paddle in hand, separating the curds from the whey, making delicate strips of warm, soft cheese. I would peek over the counter to watch his coarse, worker's hands as they delicately braided the strips into a long cheese. In those early hours in the shop, I could feel his joy and passion for the process, and would watch as he distributed a little bit of that happiness customer by customer.