Wise Women Build Their House

French Dairy Maid The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Prov 14:1

I’ve invested the last seven years, building new floors on my house. My tools are not a hammer, saw or blueprints, but instead, Mason glass “canning” jars, dehydrators, and studying traditional food preparation and preservation techniques.

Foolish women began tearing down their houses in the late 1800’s, and have continued to this day, placing careers over children, processed foods over cooking, giving up gardens and traditional food preservation methods – smoking, fermenting, drying – for that of industrial-produced dead-nutrient substances euphemistically called “food”.

He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully. Prov 10:5

Recovering the ways of traditional whole-food preparation and preservation methods, isn’t for the faint-of-heart, lazy or the impatient. It is, I am convinced, God-driven. It’s especially not for those who are bothered by clutter. My kitchen is my laboratory, its counters no longer neat and tidy, but instead, holding containers of what my 8-year-old calls, “little experiments by Mommy the Scientist.” They are what I see as discovering more clues as how to answer Him when He asks, “Who do you say that I am?”

From sauerkraut, to the making of jalapeno sauce, each one offers a unique learning experience, requiring a little bit of faith.

The latest project is one that required more faith than others, especially from my family. I’d placed a half-gallon bottle of raw, grass-fed milk on the kitchen counter, leaving it at room temperature for four days. Everyone was trying to be very helpful, nervously asking, “Are you quite sure….”, or offering, “Would you like me to refrigerate this for you…”. I explained, repeatedly, it was just “another little experiment”, inspired by When French Women Cook description of the making of traditional crème fraîche:

When cream is used in all French provinces it is crème fraîche; the only exception to this is the fleurette or unfermented liquid heavy cream used to scallop potatoes in the gratins of the mountain regions of the Alps and Jura. Crème fraîche cannot be made. Crème fraîche can happen only by itself and its taste varies from region to region so that Normandy cream and Alps cream are considerably different

Trying to make crème fraîche is a ridiculous waste of time since the taste you are dreaming of comes from the combination of the grass from meadows four thousand miles over the ocean, milk from breeds of cows that do not exist in the United States, and bacterial fermentations that cannot be the same in the U.S. as they are in France. So do not waste your time.

Excuse-moi??? “Do not waste your time????” Le Snob!

Creme Fraiche Call me stubborn, but it was the author’s notion that my raw, organic, New Hampshire grassfed milk, wouldn’t taste exactly like that of European crème fraîche, that “inspired” me to do exactly what she was advising against – making crème fraîche.

The very same reasons she gave, for not wasting time creating crème fraîche –

  • varying grass meadows,
  • difference between breeds and
  • differing fermentations

- were the reasons I should make crème fraîche.

It is those variables in the world of fermented food which create amazing diverse flavors, aromas and textures in cheese, wine, beer, breads, old-fashioned pickles, as well as tea, and coffee, just to name a few. Each of these has hundreds, if not thousands of variations, as unique as the region’s microbial population, which is solely responsible for making fermented foods into a joy to discover and consume.

Not only did I want to find out what type of crème fraîche the microbial population in my little corner of the world created, but I also wanted to see if I could create raw “soft white” or “fresh cheese”, also known as “curds” from the same batch. I could do it all from the same batch, so now the experiment became, “Exactly how many raw dairy products could be created from one half-gallon jar of fermented milk”?