So in the latest installment of my crazy life, let me tell you the story of how I came home from a normal work day yesterday, and unexpectedly woke up early today to watch a cheese demo in a town 40 minutes north of me.
After work yesterday, I hung out with my friend, Charity, then went to bed early. Word to the wise, this is what happens when you leave your phone unattended around Charity. Anyway, I was lounging in bed catching up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube- you know the drill- my friend Tara messaged me. I met Tara a few weeks ago when I went to the bread class, and we hit it off so well, it didn’t seem too weird or stalker-y to friend her on Facebook. It’s so fun making new friends who share my same interests!
Anyway, she messaged me about the Mother Earth Expo happening in Belton today and tomorrow. I have to say, I had not ever heard of Mother Earth, but I was willing to hang out with a friend doing something fun together. She was super excited, because Cary from The Ploughshare was going to be giving a demonstration on how to make Mozzarella Cheese. Tara is a lucky duck, she’s already taken their soft cheese class. Below are her own creations of cheese and butter. Maybe you need to write a guest blog post, Tara!
So that’s how I came to spontaneously buy a weekend pass to the Mother Earth Fair. And you guys, the cheese! It was amazing, and I don’t say that lightly. The process is fascinating. Basically, you warm up a gallon of milk, add citric acid and rennet, and 5 minutes later, the entire pot turns from a liquid to a solid! Crazy! The teacher, Cary, took her knife and sliced up the solid milk into strips in the pan. One stir with a spoon and the curds immediately separated from the whey. She gathered them, stretched them, and bam- mozzarella cheese just like that.
Tara and I had a fun morning, walking around the vendors, looking at the baby chicks and piglets and gorgeous roosters. Food trucks were scattered everywhere outside, while demos were happening inside. People could make their own brass spoons, or even carve their own wooden spoons, and weave small baskets. There was one lady who was spinning cotton on an improvised spindle made with a bicycle tire frame. It was so soft and thin and pretty.
There were lots of sessions about organic gardening, raising your own backyard chickens, and even a session on how to butcher an animal and make the most of all the pieces. For real. I didn’t go to that session, ha!
The experience combined so many strands of study in my life. One year, I read Michael Pollan’s book The Ominvore’s Dilemma. In the book, he talks about an innovative farmer, Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms. And Joel Salatin is actually one of the speakers at this event! Plus, on the way to the expo center, I was listening to a lovely podcast called Living Homegrown. The host, Theresa Loe, was interviewing Shawna Coronado about her organic gardening hacks. And surprise, Shawna Coronado was on the schedule as well!
It felt great to do something spontaneous and to hang out with a new friend. The weather was amazing, too. And while I failed to take many pictures, boo, it was a great day! Do I plan on raising my own chickens and growing my own food? No, at least not any time soon. I have a brown thumb and chickens aren’t allowed where I live. But I love to learn and gain new perspectives, so it was a lovely day!
I am sooo adding mozzarella cheese to my list of things to do! But, I do think I will make another loaf of my cinnamon bread first, because we are sadly out of that. So many things, so little time.