Homemade cheese, classical music and sun salutations

This week I am grateful for…

Homemade cheese

“Cheese—milk’s leap toward immortality.” —Clifton Fadiman

Homemade cheese - not ours, though. This one is credit to Island Vittles - http://www.flickr.com/photos/islandvittles/4393230756/

Homemade cheese - not ours, though. This one is credit to Island Vittles - http://www.flickr.com/photos/islandvittles/4393230756/

My beloved wife Jodie has rediscovered her love of cheesemaking, and it makes for a happy husband. She’s been making cheese off and on since 2009, and like anyone working on a new hobby, there have been successes and failures. The farmhouse cheddar turned out okay, but the gouda didn’t. The Parmesan, aged for 10 months, was a thing of gustatory beauty.

And then, for a while, her cheesemaking fields went fallow. Until now.

As Eugene temperatures have started falling, Jodie’s been flipping through our cheese book and getting re-inspired. Speaking of cheese books, we use the accessible, awesome and comprehensive Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses by Ricki Carroll or, as I like to call her, “Ricky Ricotta.”

This week Jodie busted out a gervais, a soft, rich, creamy, spreadable French cheese made from a combination of milk and cream. I’d post a picture, but we’d eaten most of the gervais before we ever thought of a camera. The gervais’ texture is creamy and luscious; spread on whole-grain bread or crackers, the cheese needs no adornment, though fresh-off-the-vine late-season raspberries go quite nicely with it.

Jodie’s now planning a hard cheese. As for me, I am happy to resume my role as Cheese Enabler, come gouda come cheddar, come feta come mozz.

Classical music

Performance Today Young Artist in Residence: Charlie Albright. Photo Credit: Tatsunori Hashimoto.

Performance Today Young Artist in Residence: Charlie Albright. Photo Credit: Tatsunori Hashimoto.

Classical music gets my blood going, soothes my soul and brightens my eyes. In the morning it perks me up like coffee, and in the evening it calms me like port. Living in Eugene, we’re fortunate to have a 24/7/365 classical music station, KWAX FM KWAX is on the Eugene radio dial at 91.1 FM, and you can also stream it online from anywhere.

This week has been a good one for classical. Whether in the morning or streaming online later, I’ve been soaking up hours of Performance Today, which broadcasts recent performances of classical music from all over the world. The program has also started week-long residency programs, bringing in musicians from top American conservatories for a week of commentary and music-making. This week’s artist in residence was pianist Charlie Albright, winner of the prestigious 2010 Gilmore Young Artist Award and the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. I’ve been enjoying his piano playing and his take on being a classical musician in today’s world.

Thanks Charlie and the PT staff for an awesome week of programming.

Sun salutations

And then there is yoga, generally accompanied by Performance Today.

I’m not much for exercise. No, that doesn’t cut it. I can’t stand exercise. It bores the hell out of me. Now activity, that I love. Walking the dog, mowing the lawn, shifting firewood, doing things around the house, I love things like that. They’re productive activities, good for body and soul.

So instead of exercise, every morning before breakfast I do four sun salutations (admittedly sometimes followed by push-ups). Sun salutations are a series of yoga poses that stretch pretty much the entire body. Each morning I stand in the living room, look out at the trees across the street, and go through the poses. I calm my mind as best I can, while helping my body wake and limber up for whatever the day brings.

I can’t stand exercise. But I love my sun salutations. The day gets much clearer once they’re done.

What are you grateful for this week?



One comment on “Homemade cheese, classical music and sun salutations
  1. I love cheese, it gets the old mouth watering. i listen to Classic FM on Radio here in England, United Kingdom as I have been advised that Classical music make you calm and more intelligent than listening to the head banging noise from certain pop tunes that emanate from mall stores that passes as ‘music’. cheese feeds the inner person, and clasical music feeds the mind and soul – so there. It is all true I tell ye!

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