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How did it turn out?

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I was all excited to hear what my students had done with their buttermilk. Last week the students took home a cultured milk that transformed into delicious buttermilk overnight.

So when they walked into the Yogurt Cheese Workshop a week later, I asked, How did it turn out? Good ... Fine, was the general consensus.

Not quite the rave reviews I was hoping for. Before the students left last week I provided them with a selection of family recipes for their enjoyment… my Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuits and another for homemade dressing… my Nana’s Pimento Cream Cheese Spread … and a Simple Sour Cream Dip that I make regularly.

Hoping for stronger reviews, I coaxed: Well, did you use it?

Out rolled a torrent of excuses: This week was really busy; My refrigerator is sooooo full and I just kinda forgot about it; I used it to make sour cream… but I haven’t tasted it yet. The excuses were so numerous and different I had to laugh.

The saving grace came from the youngest member in the workshop who proceeded to tell me how wonderful Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuit recipe was. She and her mother also made the dressing and thoroughly enjoyed it. They used the last little bit to make buttermilk pancakes Saturday morning.

The girl said she saved just enough of the buttermilk to start the next culture. Hearing the mother and daughter enthusiastically discuss their cooking adventures opened up the flood gates for the other students. They wanted to know how good the food tasted and how well the buttermilk incorporated into the recipes. The general theme was, Is it like store-bought buttermilk? The answer: Better!

Listening to the students pepper questions at the mother and daughter made me realize that some students were still feeling uncertain about using foods they cultivated themselves from bacteria. I think contemporary society has ingrained in us the concept that all bacteria are “bad” and can make us extremely ill. As a result, we have lost sight of the beneficial nature of bacteria which can be cultivated in a clean and safe environment.  

There was also some hesitation about using food without a printed expiration date on the label. I have an idea as to how to dispel these reservations… I am going to ask the students in future classes to make one recipe with buttermilk and bring it to the next class. We will see who does their homework.

-- Jennifer Rogers

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