Back in the spring, I spent a Saturday making Traditional Cheddar. Apparently, I didn't document the experience, and I don't seem to have a clear memory about it. It took all day, but most hard cheese do.
Six months later, I opened it up for tacos last week and discovered My Best Hard Cheese Yet. The other cheeses, the gouda, the jack, the colby - they each came out ok, if harder and drier and sharper than expected. But the cheddar Actually Tastes Like Cheddar! I'm rather pleased about that.
So the plan for next spring is to make as many batches of Traditional Cheddar as I can shoehorn into the calendar. This will allow me to practice and hopefully improve the technique a bit so that when I try a different cheese - the Jack again perhaps - I'll have some sort of baseline to start from. Besides, it's hard to have too many rounds of cheddar on hand.
The big maple across the street has dropped all its leaves and the smaller maple our front(different variety, flame perhaps?) is a brilliant gold. Though I will be a bit surprised tomorrow if there are any leaves left on it, given the way the wind has been tearing down the walk beside the house. Caitlyn found a leaf ("Mama! Look at this leaf! Isn't it huge? I'm going to put it here, where I hide things on the porch!") in the time it took to cross the street from the bus stop. After school, we sat in the kitchen, ate pumpkin muffins, and watched the neighbors' St. Francis, visible on his fence-perch from our kitchen window, bowing to the remaining leaves as they hurried by: Good-bye! See you in the Spring!