A Cultured Story

Most people who know me very well know there are two things I love to do: learn stuff, and make stuff. Because of these two passions, I also love to learn to make stuff. Through the years this has led to quite a collection of tools and implements in our house. There’s the spinning wheel and baskets of wool and fiber from just about every animal with fur; the wheat grinder and a couple five gallons buckets of wheat (there’s nothing like eating bread that was wheat just two hours ago!); the box of pots, spoons, scales, essential oils, and assorted other implements for making soap; and on and on…

My latest acquisition came last weekend when we were touring the outlet stores in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As we wandered through a kitchen store we found a yogurt maker for $30. I was ecstatic! A couple years ago I wanted to learn to make yogurt, but in Tulsa the only yogurt maker I could find was at a health food store, and cost well over $100. I decided I didn’t need to learn to make yogurt that badly! But $30, on the other hand, isn’t too bad. And so my adventure began…

When we got home (an hour down the road from the outlet mall) I opened the box. Inside was the machine, the clear cover, seven cute little six ounce jars with lids, and no owners maual. This meant I had no directions or recipes to get me started. However, the internet came through for me, and I found a wealth of information on making yogurt, including the owner’s manual for the exact yogurt maker I had bought.

In the process of searching for information on how to use my new toy, er, tool, I came across a troubleshooting site that said sometimes there are traces of antibiotics in standard grocery store milk that can interfere with the yogurt culture working like it should, so using organic milk is suggested. That sounded good to me, and all I had in the fridge was regular milk, so we piled back in the car to head to Whole Foods Market for some organic milk. As is usual, organic milk is more expensive than conventional milk, so we spent $3.69 for half a gallon of milk.

Next, I needed to buy some yogurt culture to get the whole deal started. There is an option to use plain yogurt as starter, but Brian thought it was really dumb to buy a machine to make yogurt and then go buy yogurt, so we went for the cultures. It took talking to three or four employees before we finally were told that the store did indeed carry the cultures. The manager escorted me to the right aisle, and the two of us, along with a shelf stocker guy spent several minutes searching to find the box, even though it was right in front of our noses. The cost? Another $2.65.

So now I was almost ready. The only remaining roadblock was that my two cooking thermometers (one for meat and one for candy) was packed away with the rest of my kitchen things in a POD somewhere in the wilds of the Pennsylvania hillsides. Brian, being my Knight in Shining Armor reminded me there was a kitchen boutique just up the road, so we drove over there to get a thermometer. Now, as I said, I own two kitchen thermometers already, so I decided to get a thermometer with different features and characteristics so when we get to retrieve our belongings from the PODs I won’t have duplicate utensils. I found the grand-daddy of all cooking thermometers, which I have been dreaming of ever since I saw Alton Brown use it on Food Network. Brian agreed that I should go for it, so I spent, with tax, $32.

Since yogurt takes several hours to make, I put off getting started until the next morning. Even I’m not such a fanatic that I wanted to get up at 3:00 AM just to check the yogurt! So the next morning I got right to it, and sure enough, but dinner time I had seven cute little jars in the fridge of actual, real-live, honest-to-goodness, homemade, organic yogurt. Yea for me! I stirred some flavorings (vanilla and zylitol crystals) into some yogurt and used it as a topping for some fruit we had gotten during our drive through Amish country the day before. It was a total success. Yea for me!

Then, as I was cleaning up I came across a slip of paper. I turned it over to read what it was so I could decide if I would throw it out or save it. It was the credit card receipt for the thermometer, so I decided I should save it… Then I looked at it again… $32… Hmm… And the thermometer cost the same thing as the yogurt maker…. That’s $64… There there was the organic milk and yogurt cultures… That’s another $6, for a total of $70… And all of that made seven cute little six ounce jars of yogurt… Which had now cost me $10 each… Yea for me?



Filed under My Achievements, Personal, Random Ramblings, Weird Stuff I Know

3 responses to “A Cultured Story

  1. Lemme tell you, $10/jar yogurt is really gooood.

    I recommend waiting for it to go on sale, though… 😉

  2. Mrs. I.

    Great story! Can I sign up for a spinning wheel demonstration? : )

  3. Any time! I can teach you, if you like…

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