Monday, March 1, 2010
Cheese Curds in California?
I'll mention here that I am from Michigan, but have never been to Wisconsin, and have never eaten world famous Wisconsin cheese curds. But I've always felt a little deficient because of this. To understand some of the hype surrounding those bright orange Great Lakes curds, check out this awesome website. This site comes complete with cheese curd etiquette including "Never yell out that you have fresh Cheese Curds in a crowded Wisconsin theater." The site also features info on how curds are made, and curd poetry. It's a very extensive.
Cheese curds are simply fresh curds (generally cheddar curds) that haven't been put into a shaped mold and let to sit and become aged cheddar cheese. They have a characteristic squeak because there is still a lot of air trapped inside them. There is a great quote from the New York Times that equates the squeaky sound to "balloons trying to neck." How fun is that!
The squeak is elusive, however. Curds must be fresh, fresh, fresh! That is one of the reasons you can't find them in many places. They tend to start loosing their squeak within 24 hours, and extreme cold doesn't do them any favors. They must be eaten at room temperature for full harmonic convergence. Sadly, even after I got my curds home, broke them up into individual curds and brought them to room temperature, I couldn't detect the slightest bit of squeak. And they needed salt. I suppose they were already a little too old to squeak in the traditional way, though they still tasted very milky and fresh. They might be tastier if I do another Mid-Western thing - dip them in beer batter and deep fry them! What's not to love there! If the DH doesn't consume all of them the minute he gets home tonight, I will give that a try and post the results.
Any cheese curd lovers out there? Apparently, you never forget your first one.