My super hot friend Baroness Rinny von Hottenberg turned 23 for the first time this weekend and her mother asked me to make her an amazing dinner. We had steak which was ok but the real highlight of the evening from was the cheese.
Their local food cooperative is close to rural/terrifying Vermont where America’s favorite classist institution of higher education is located along with some amazing cheese makers. After a lot of amazing cheese gazing we settled on some garlic cheese from Grafton Village and Bailey Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill.
If you don’t like blue cheeses you should give Bailey Hazen a whirl because it is very mild and not very bleu-cheezy. Oh yes. And you will love it.
I’m tired. Will one of you make me coffee?
I’m old, irritable and lactose intolerant but I love fancy cheese. Fancy cheese is also the backbone of the economy where I live and killing the gourmet cheese market would destroy the economy of northern New England. A few years ago the price for wholesale milk collapsed in New England and to survive many small farms turned to producing artisan cheese to stay alive because they could sell cheese for a lot more money than milk. Now that the FDA has decided to go all nuts on cheese producers using wooden boards for aging we are in a whole lot of trouble.
Why you should care about artisan cheese!
Many artisan cheese producers are located in blue states or in regions of swing states that typically elect democrats.
Artisan cheese production is pretty much the only reason small farms exist in New England.
I enjoy Velveeta but savor the cheese made by my neighbors.
The death of artisan cheese means the death of small farms which means small farms turn into housing developments. No.
I’m trolling the cheese making department of a small Vermont college I perceive as toxic and classist. If artisan cheese goes away, I won’t be able to do that.
I said so.
I do. I feel bad that they haven’t learned anything from their interactions with me. Classism sucks and it would be great if they would use this experience to grow and learn along with their students.
Little classist college I believe in you!
In my previous attempt to learn how to make cheese I ran up against some of the classism that makes Vermont such a wonderful place to live and work. My request for information was ignored until they read about me insulting them on this blog and then it was responded in an inappropriate and condescending manner. Life goes on and other Vermont institution lost out on an awesome opportunity.
However, it looks like the Vermont Institute College has their own cheese making program that may be less upper middle class fantasies and more about education.
Here is the press release.
Here are the actual course listings. It would also appear that they feature classes in craft brewing and mushroom foraging. Fun!
Google webmaster tells me that this blog does ok for the search term don’t lower your standards. Therefore, I should probably create a keyword rich post using that phrase. Here goes.
Don’t Lower Your Standards
I’m poor, irritable and old but the only thing I won’t give up is my standards. Sure, I walk around talking to myself in ancient sweaters but that is part of my charm. I’d rather wear old ratty things made from wool than gross new things that won’t last me a year. Standards are important but newness isn’t. You will save yourself an enormous amount of money if you buy nice things that last instead of going to the mall and buying crap that will break in two weeks.
Standards Matter With Food & Beverages Too
I’d rather have a little bit of cheese made by neighbors than a whole bunch of processed cheese foods. My neighbors are passionate about cheesemaking and I know this because I have actually had a discussion with them about their cheese and why they do what they do. Oh and unlike most of the processed cheese food product I eat, I actually enjoy it.
This is also true with the things you drink. Don’t lower your standards when it comes to your beverages. Drink less coffee but spend more on it. Your costs will be the same but you might actually enjoy drinking it. This is the same with other beverages including alcohol and soda. Buy nice local soda and you will be amazed at how rewarding it can taste when you aren’t destroying your palate with the sweetness of Mountain Dew.
My neighbors across the road make cheese. My neighbors to the right also make cheese. My horrible parvenu neighbors probably make cheese too. Cheese is everywhere.
What is that I hear right now? Oh, it is dairy cows.
I guess I should give in and learn to make cheese myself.
As America’s favorite culinary school reject, I’m considering applying for and rejecting entry into a cheese making program.
Local Cheese Making Classes
Local to me at least which means New Hampshire / Vermont.
Sterling College offers an intense program with the incredible Jasper Hill. It is around $3,000 and if I had that type of money hanging around I’d do it. I emailed the program for more information but so far they have chosen not to respond sufficiently to my inquiry.
Westminster Artisan Cheesemaking offers courses in cheese making that are not to far from and seem to be reasonably affordable.
New Hampshire Cheesemakers Guild offers a list of cheesemakers and in New Hampshire and some that offer cheese making courses.