As part of my project: expansion, I decided that I really wanted to learn how to make goat cheese (who doesn’t love a good chevre?). Inspiration struck in the middle of a lecture (sorry professor), and I curiously sought out to find a place I could learn such skills to supplement my current curriculum. After a few tries on Google, I fortuitously stumbled upon a place called The Institute of Domestic Technology. It seemed like a real place. I liked the aesthetic website design. Then I started reading some of the classes offered. I could hardly believe a place like this existed and so close by. After a slight (and I mean very slight) hesitation debating my grad student budget, I signed up for Foodcrafting101 with a new sense of excitement as I endured the rest of class.
Many of the classes take place at the charming historic Zane Grey Estate (also where Mariposa Creamery is housed) located in Altadena, CA. Foodcrafting101 includes learning how to make your own artisanal bread, jam, mustards and chevre from scratch. Right up my alley. When I arrived in the morning for orientation I was greeted by Joseph–the kind, knowledgeable, witty and charismatic founder of IDT. He hospitably offered me & the others joining me on this adventure, warm homemade cherry scones and fresh home-roasted coffee. We introduced ourselves, Joseph gave a little background on what we would be doing, and off we began our journey in Foodcrafting.
Each hour was divided into learning how to make a different item from scratch. We began with a strawberry rhubarb jam, followed by some spicy and delicious mustard. We took a break for a rustic, homemade lunch that was all so good. It was pretty wonderful that those who prepared the food could probably have told us exactly where everything had come from (I think much of it from the grounds of the estate). To finish there were incredible chocolate chip cookies served with fresh goat milk.
After lunch we continued on with the bread and cheese making section. With a little help from some items that were prepared ahead of time (thank you instructors), by 4pm we had fresh goat cheese and bread to test out the fruits of our labor. Afterwards we got to hang out with the goats (who so kindly provided us with the milk that we turned into cheese) which was really nice.
Not only was it just a fun experience to learn new things about how food is made and how we can make it ourselves, but I loved how it also focused on the idea of connecting with where our food comes from and being mindful of that process. It was really wonderful to be around people that shared a common interest and passion and the environment had an energy that filled me up the rest of the weekend (not just with the food). I’m so glad that I went and look forward to hopefully learning more in the future.