Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh, the chasm that separates farmstead cheese from Cheetos

Just a personal observation: For many people, a day can potentially take a turn for the better or worse (and thus be quantified) based solely upon what they ultimately chose to fill their belly's with.

For example, last Thursday ended on a high note for me, largely due to tasting fresh goat curd cheese that, early the previous morning, had still been inside a goat.

The following evening, the day was summed up (poorly) in terms of the generous portion of Cheetos I ate, chased by three canned Diet Cokes.

Now I will say that for the average twelve year-old boy, the above pairings of food/appraisal of day would probably be reversed.

(ie: Fresh-from-the-Teat Goat Curd = Creepy Day
Copious Amounts of Cheetos and Soda = Awesome Day)

Then there's the frustrated dieter, for whom eating minuscule quantities of food- usually of questionable quality- compels them to view their day in terms of simultaneous juxtaposition.

My mom calls me and says, "I just finished my lunch. I only had two carrots with some hummus and three Wheat Thins." The tone in her voice rings of both victory, and a sense of longing that will probably go unrealized (until she hits the Edy's Cookies and Cream later on that night.)

Pictured above: Manchester Cheese at Zingerman's Creamery Ann Arbor. Young on its journey to aged perfection, it smelled alive.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Elfin Goodness In My Cup

How surprised was I to find a package of Gnome Brew at my doorstep this past Tuesday! Kudos to my dearest friend for giving home coffee roasting a try- and then sharing her finished product with me. Nikki Two-Beers (as I may from this day on refer to her...Nikki Two-Beers, your input is welcome on this issue), who in collaboration with her hubby is already producing covet-worthy home brewed beer, employed a humble stove-top popcorn popper to roast her own beans. Great choice to use peaberry beans-and dig that gold foil package!

The verdict on the taste? I'll agree with Nikki that it is indeed "quite drinkable". My husband and I, upon closer scrutiny had slightly dissenting opinions. He felt that it needed to be roasted longer. I felt the opposite. But honestly, I don't really know enough about how roasting time impacts flavor to comment in any artisinal capacity. The best evaluation I can offer is that the first flavors on my palate were rich and very tasty. The final "aftertaste" was a tad strong, certainly not a burned flavor, but a little like over-browned edges on an English muffin. But this wasn't a hard negative, because it reminded me of going camping, and drinking coffee that's been boiled over a campfire. Kind of nostalgic, actually.

So great first shot, Nikki Two-Beers! I am so proud that you have turned your kitchen into a laboratory for gastronomic experiments of all sorts. You are part of the next generation of happy homemakers who dare to step outside the box of condensed soup and JELLO pudding in favor of craftsmanship and innovation.