Why I'm Making Cheese
I’ve always been a crafty person. Ever since I was a little girl, there was always some project taking over my mom and dad’s kitchen. From foraging leaves at the age of 5 for self-designed random leaf projects (Hey look, you can make a stamp with the leaf! Hey, what if we grind up all the leaves and add it to a blender with some newspaper and then dry it out?! Hey Mom, what do you think would happen if I took this leave, dipped it in blue food dye, put it on a brand new t-shirt and let it dry in the sun?!) to bribing my Mom to drive me 45 minutes away for paper making classes to learning to throw pottery on the wheel at the age of 10, I’ve long been a devotee to the world of making deeply useful things. In my teen life, that manifested into an addictive paper making and rubber stamping creative outlet, soapmaking and cheesemaking. I remember my first cheddar cheese like it was yesterday … mostly because it failed so spectacularly! And as a teenager, money was at such a premium that it was a real disappointment. Of course, my first six batches of soap also failed so I shouldn’t have been surprised that cheesemaking didn’t come easily either.
My creative journey has been varied but one thing has always remained a constant. I am a chronic dabbler. Like many crafters, I am the queen of trying something, getting obsessed, getting decent at the craft and then going to the next one, while always adding to my knowledge base and revisiting crafts. I’ve loved two decades of really mastering one craft: soapmaking. Over the years however, I’ve done a lot more than just soapmaking. If there is a craft out there or a food thing to make, I’ve done it. Fermented sourdough starter wild caught in the neighborhood that turns into bread? Check. Sauerkraut? Check. Fermenting veggies? Check. Kombucha? Check. Plant dyes for wool? Check. Creativity is essential, no matter how you express it.
Recently, I moved into a new test kitchen for Soap Queen and Bramble Berry and having all the space and freedom has really rekindled my love of dabbling in all kinds of things. I pulled out all of my cheesemaking equipment and have made some beautiful cheeses over the last few months; an fast mozzarella (recipe coming soon!), a gorgeous soft Italian Robiola cheese, a pungent creamy blue cheese, a stunningly sweet caramel gjetost, and aged cheddar. It’s reminded me that creativity is a journey and when you make products rooted in usefulness, it’s a beautiful marriage of time well spent and reward.
I’ve been blogging over at SoapQueen.com for the last ten years. Readers watched me get married, buy a house, decide to have children, figure out the ebb and flow of being a Mom and a business woman, and through it all, you’ve been there for the journey. This space is a place for me to continue that journey, to share family updates, personal updates, and talk about what I’m making. I’ll always be the Soap Queen, and now, I’m adding dimension and layers to that because, like me, I’m guessing you have varied interests, too. Let’s explore them together.