March 5 is National Cheese Doodle Day! Check out this cool video clip from Food Network’s “Unwrapped” about how these puffs are made. And you gotta love the quote from Kevin Croen (product manager at Wise Foods, Inc.) describing what it’s like without a ready supply of Cheez Doodles: “days that just don’t have sunshine in them.” Now that’s a man who loves his Doodles!
Do you know what today day is – beyond your average Wednesday, of course? Hold on to your britches: today is NATIONAL CHEESE DOODLE DAY!
Honestly, I’m skeptical about whether or not cheese doodles have anything whatsoever to do with cheese, but Wise Foods, Inc. – which owns the Cheez Doodles brand and produces more than 15 million pounds of Cheez Doodles a year – claims they use “real cheddar cheese.” Anyhoo, the definition of a cheese doodle is:
A snack made with cornmeal that has been puffed, baked and coated with cheddar cheese.
They’ve been around since the 1940s and are known by several other names including, cheese puffs, cheese curls and cheese balls. How do you like your doodles — crunchy or puffed? (OMG – do you remember Planter’s cheese balls in a can?! They were the best.)
Turns out there’s a machine that extrudes a water and cornmeal mix which makes it almost pop, like popcorn. You can see it in action on the video from Food Network’s “Unwrapped” on how Cheez Doodles are made. It’s actually pretty cool.
You may be wondering if I feel ever-so-slightly remorseful about essentially promoting what amounts to junk food. And I do…almost as remorseful as when I eat them.
This seemed like the perfect sentiment with which to re-launch my blog on the two-year anniversary* of the opening of Southern Whey.
To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
The most obvious link between the shop and the title of this blog post, is the renewed interest I’m seeing in eating seasonally. Simply stated, this means eating fruits and veggies – AND cheeses, because they, too, come from the land – at certain times of the year when they are at their peak. But modern food processing and worldwide distribution make it easy to forget about seasons when grocery store shelves look nearly the same year-round. Thank goodness for our local Farmer’s Markets and CSAs!
One of the best examples of seasonality when it comes to cheese is fresh goat cheese, or chevre. As I tell our local cheesemaker, Sue Stovall, with dramatic flair each year: “Oh, if I had a dollar for the number of times people ask me for Paradox Farm chevre in December, January and February I could retire…!” Perhaps not retire, but I do disappoint a whole lot of local goat cheese lovers during the winter.
Why is there no fresh goat milk during this time? Because goats (as well as sheep) do not breed year-round – they are seasonal breeders. They naturally come into heat and are bred in the Fall, they kid in late Winter or early Spring, and are milked in late Spring, Summer and early Fall. However, milk can be “put up,” typically by freezing, for Winter use.
But already, adorable, fuzzy little kids are starting to crowd the barn at Paradox Farm – which only means that Sue’s delicious, mild chevre will be back in the case at Southern Whey very, very soon. We’ll be sure to announce its return, along with the date that Sue, Hunter and their “kids” will make their annual appearance on the grass just outside the shop on a Spring Saturday.
In the same way that the seasons form a natural backdrop for eating, it seems that this “adventure called life” follows patterns that can best be described as seasonal as well – don’t you think? The difference, however, may be that in some years we experience the luxury of an extended Spring – full of seemingly limitless growth and expansion; and in other years, Winter takes its time and its toll – devastating what was previously cultivated. Yet, there always remains the promise of Spring. The key, I think, is learning to appreciate whatever season we’re in – the food, the weather, the trials, the achievements and the lessons. I think Zora Neale Hurston says it quite eloquently…
I’m hoping this is a year of both peace and of answers. In the meantime…be mindful, be grateful and eat happy.
*It’s sort of a two-year anniversary…being that the shop opened on Leap Day; we won’t see February 29 until 2016, so that truly will be our FIRST anniversary…four years after opening.