Cheese, soap… and plants?

homemade cheese cut in blocks

“Are you going to write about this on your blog?” my roommate asked as she watched me tie a dish towel full of curds on the cupboard handle.

“I don’t know. Should I?” This wasn’t the first time I had made cheese, but it was the first time I had tried making paneer.

The man at the Asian store looked at me funny when I asked if they sold paneer. “Paneer? No, you make that at home.”

“I’d rather buy it,” I assured him. But since that wasn’t an option, I picked up a few liters of milk instead.

All of the YouTube videos crow that it’s the easiest thing in the world to make. Blah, blah, blah.

I couldn’t even find cheesecloth for sale.

But you know what? It is the easiest thing in the world to make. At least close. Heat one and a half liters of milk and add a bit of vinegar and zaz. Cheese. Well, at least curds that are easily pressed into cheese with the help of a brand new cotton dish towel.

I used the cheese to make saag paneer. But was more pleased with the cheese than anything else. (I think I may have even convinced my sister to try making cheese too, although she scoffed at my use of a “linty” dish towel.)

A few days later, I was making soap. (Sort of. I was stirring the soap that someone else had masterminded.) Homemade soap! So cool! I had been dying to try it for ages but was afraid I’d burn my arm off with lye. At least, my roommate was afraid I would. 

But together with a good friend who has been making soap since forever, we made little bars of soap so smooth it took hours of stirring. We watched music videos and talked about dreams and life in general. The hours passed quickly. 

The problem is, the soap is refusing to set up entirely. (Maybe with some more time, we hope.) My friend isn’t sure what went wrong. I guess I don’t know either, but I’m pretty sure my inexperience had something to do with it!

And what’s my next project? Well, I’m currently trying to keep two plants alive. One is a birthday gift (only one more day until I can give it away!). And the other was a gift for me. It came with the guarantee that it was easy to keep alive.

We’ll see. The day I received it, I forgot it at work in a dark windowless room… for the weekend. Fortunately, my roommate rescued it for me, but it hasn’t forgotten. Oh, no. I can feel it glaring at me from the windowsill.

plant in window sill against blue sky

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