My Whey or the Highway

There’s something in the air. Friday I went to lunch at Sitara with my future writing partner, the awesome Chef Alisa DeMarco, where we commiserated about not having time to really get down all day in the kitchen (in her case, her home kitchen) to make something DEEP; Saveur mag came out (that day, maybe even?) with online content talking about “project recipes“; I’m bored, I think that’s what it is. I think we all are. This winter is endless. Endless! I just wanted to go outside, or do something inside, or WHATEVER. I DIDN’T KNOW. Gah.

So I made yogurt. In a machine. A machine that has been sitting, brand new and untouched, in the cupboard above the oven for 5 years, when I bought it in a fit of pique right around my 40th birthday. [It should be noted that my mother also had a yogurt maker that she used a few times before relegating it to the back of a cupboard, so I come by this hereditarily.]

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I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned my oven woes/whoas. Making yogurt is probably something I would have tried to do in the oven, but the ol’ Visualite is nearing 70 years old, and has decided that her only temperatures are Pretty Damn Hot and Really Fuh-reaking Hot. This will have to be addressed at some point, but that point is not now. It’s been this way for about 8 years, so I’m kind of used to it, but anything requiring precision or overnight heating is unwise. So I got out the yogurt maker and went for it.

What’s cool about making yogurt? It requires only a couple of ingredients, it doesn’t require a lot of babysitting, and it saves the recycling bin from a glut of containers. It feels awesome and thrifty and downright powerful to make a staple food from leftover staple food – chicken stock from a chicken, sourdough bread from starter, more yogurt from starter yogurt. It also tastes pretty damn good. I’m glad I did it. It was incredibly easy. I’m a dork for letting the maker sit in the cupboard for so long. So, thanks, yogurt maker: Until the oven gets fixed, you will not be condemned to the same fate as the panini press, the Foreman grill, the juicer, the food dehydrator…

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