Cheese, I Haven’t Always Loved Thee

I spent the first twenty years of my life in the darkness. For some reason, before I can remember, I decided that I hated cheese. I had no rational reason for it, just like I had no reason to dislike bread, the other food I decided I hated, which made my parents’ life pretty difficult. To make matters even more ridiculous, I loved grilled cheese…try to figure that one out. Anyways, In my early twenties, I found out that cheese wasn’t actually that bad, and over the last decade it has gotten to the point where there is rarely a time when we don’t have at least three or four different kinds of cheese in the fridge at any given time. I now LOVE cheese, as all normal people should.

The Seed Is Planted

The idea to make my own cheese came to me in the depths of a late night internet black hole in the subreddit r/ArtisanVideos. If ever you would like to be inspired to learn and master a skill, this is the place to go. I came across this video of Gavin Webber making a wheel of cloth banded cheddar and was mesmerized. I knew that this was the hobby for me, except for one little thing. Apparently, the packaging on cheddar cheese isn’t lying, you have to let it age for months before you can eat it. Turns out cheddar is not a beginner’s cheese. Patience is not my strong suit, nor apparently resilience, and I promptly gave up the dream of being a cheese man.

The Journey Begins

It may not look like cheese, but its a start!

Until this weekend! Today I started my cheese making journey by making paneer cheese for my wife’s favourite Indian food, Murgh Paneer. Like most learning journeys, I didn’t intend it to be a journey at all, but I enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to make it my new personal project. I’ve already found my next cheese recipe, and my plan for this week is to source the ingredients and tools for a couple different types to make over the next couple weeks. I’ll share them with my friends and colleagues, and hopefully, if they don’t get sick, they’ll be able to give me some constructive feedback. Once I’ve spent 20 hours honing my cheese making skills, my plan is to put all that know-how to the test and make myself a nice well aged sharp cheddar. If you’re in Düsseldorf in 4-6 months, stop by and I’ll share a slice!

 

A Cheese Man With A Plan

I’ve felt a bit silly writing this learning plan for cheese but it was something that I had been disappointed not to have tried the first time I thought of it. Reflecting on the process that I went through to get here, I wonder how often our students get bogged down by the sheer enormity or length of a project they think of and never get started. If I hadn’t been prodded by this weeks assignment and tried making a nice simple cheese, I probably wouldn’t ever have rekindled my excitement for the dream of a nice sharp cheddar. As teachers, we need to find ways to encourage our students’ big dreams and help them find ways to take little steps towards them.