Of the two books I have on using the products of one’s home dairy, I have teed off fairly roundly on the one, but I haven’t said anything about the other. “The other” would be a slim spiral-bound book called, crazily, Goats Produce Too: The Udder Real Thing, Cheese Making And More Volume II by Mary Jane Toth. Once I got beyond the utter church-ladies-recipe-book style of the thing in both format, tone and (frankly) badly written instructions, I have decided that the late Mary Jane Toth is my hero in all things dairy. (Deep bow.)
The fudge was a start.
Don’t judge a book by its cover says the nag in my head. Surely, there’s plenty of appeal to Ricki Carroll’s book: it’s glossy, there are 75 recipes in it, plenty of pictures and how-to’s and it’s gone through the hands of an editor and a graphic designer but goodness you get to a recipe, get all excited to make it and realize DUH you don’t have the one thing needed to make the cheese happen: and in 74 of 75 cases that one thing is something she’s glad to sell you. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It just means 1. I should really read the recipe closely and 2. I should continue the idea that my cheese will continue to cost me money in terms of ordering the stuff to make it.
But Ms Toth’s book is refreshing, despite its lack of panache. It’s totally commonsensical. And: you don’t need to pay her a dime to make cheese, or anything else dairy-related. In point of fact, you can get many of her recipes for free on the internet, and most of the needed ingredients right out of your refrigerator (yogurt as thermophilic starter, buttermilk as mesophilic).
Incidentally, I have never made fudge before. It was tasty, and chewy…or I should say “is” because I am sure it will take us weeks to eat it all!