Sunday, 24 April 2011

family rituals: egg cheese

My grandma taught me how to make egg cheese. I've made it almost every Easter since she died. It's one of my little silent promises to her that I'll keep some of her recipes alive, and pass them on to my own children.

The recipe is from my Swiss Mennonite tradition and it's made from 8 cups whole milk, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp salt, and 6 eggs. Rich. I say a little prayer each time I make this recipe, hoping it will turn out and I will not burn the milk by stepping away and becoming distracted. I plant my feet in front of the stove and vow not to move. I'd rather not make a late-night grocery run for more whole milk.

It's a slow recipe. Lots of watching and waiting and slowly stirring from one side of the pot to the other. Then waiting some more. When the curds finally separate from the whey, I always count it a small miracle.

I can't resist trying just a small bowl with fresh maple syrup.

It's wrapped in cheesecloth and left to drip in the fridge overnight. On Easter morning, I peel back these white cloths and it reminds me of other white cloths empty of a body lying in an open tomb. A miracle.

Making these Easter foods over the past days has made me mindful of small miracles.

The miracle of:

  • curds separating from whey,
  • yeast rising into sweet bread,
  • clear sap transformed to sweet golden syrup,
  • white eggs becoming a rainbow,
  • the sky with its setting sun its own dyed-egg-beauty.

If I can believe in these small miracles, could my mind be open to bigger ones?

Seed to plant
acorn to oak
all of these are small miracles
slow miracles
that take time,
inspire wonder
as I slow myself
to watch them unfold
and behold!!!

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