what are you good at?

The other day when I was flipping a cheese (or maybe I was getting it out of the press? brining it? whatever), I suddenly blurted, “I’m good at making cheese.” 

black pepper parmesan

My husband mm-hmmed me politely, and everyone else ignored me, but as I puttered about the kitchen I kept thinking about what I’d just said. 


Three years ago I didn’t know what clabber was, or the differences between mesophilic and thermophilic cultures, or how to do the squeeze test to see if the curds were done cooking or make a saturated salt brine, and now I’m consistently turning out fat wheels of delicious cheese.

baby swiss

I really am good at making cheese!

Here are a few of the stages I’ve gone through thus far. 

  • Hope Springs Eternal: where I have zero confidence but truckloads of ambition.
  • The Granny Fantasy: where I obsess over finding a cheesemaking granny to teach me how. 
  • Death By Information: where I read everything I can get my hands on and watch hours of YouTube videos.
  • Finding My People: where I get together with other cheesemakers to discuss process, troubleshoot, and eat cheese. 
  • Make All The Cheese: where I do exactly that, because how else will I learn what’s good and what’s not?
  • Crash and Burn: where I culture a whole bunch of cheeses with kefir and then throw most of them out because kefir is from the devil. 
  • Share The Journey: where I start a YouTube channel, because simply making the cheese isn’t complicated enough. 
  • Clabber Me Silly: where I learn the power and glory of clabber and use it to make all my cheeses. 
  • Moi Terroir: where I’m finally coming into my own. I know which cheeses we like best and how fast we’ll eat them up. I understand how little tweaks will impact the final product. I know which tools are necessary and which ones are aren’t. I have my own cheesemaking style, complete with techniques and handy little tricks. 

pepper jack

All along I’ve been getting good at making cheese and now I am good at making it. Now I can confidently knock out a 7-pound wheel of cheese in several hours, zero stress, zero drama. It’s just cheese.


Which is a marvel, really, considering how much I didn’t know.


What are you good at? Whistling? Parallel parking? Growing tomatoes? Typing? Writing books? Telling jokes? Giving IVs? Splitting wood? Apologizing? (Three other things I’m good at: making lists, delegating, and trying new things.)

This same time, years previous: happy pork, milk central, margarita mix, energy boost, the family reunion of 2017, the quotidian (6.8.15), delivery, thorns, Jeni’s chocolate ice cream, how we beat the heat.


  • Iwona Charleson

    I’m getting good at making cheese too – have been busy with it for a few years now, I’ve been posting a few makes on fb and consequently have been asked to give a talk on cheese making in a couple of weeks time at the local Food and Drink Festival – gawd!!!
    However, now I’m really going to sound big headed – I keep sheep and dye, spin, weave you name it their fleece and luckily sell a fair amount of finished stuff, so I can keep making more.
    I would love to be in your cheese group, don’t think there is anyone around here that would be interested – I love talking cheese and I love watching you make yours :))

  • Katherine

    Also, note that many people don’t believe teaching is a skill. They believe that anyone who’s an expert in a subject will be good at teaching it, which is not true at all.

  • Katherine

    I am good at teaching. I can figure out how a student is thinking about a problem/concept, I can figure out to ask the right question or give the right explanation to move their thinking forward. I’m also good at organizing things, both physical objects & ideas.

  • Hattie

    Your cheesemaking prowess is indeed impressive. My thing is making soup. Every weekend year round I make soup for my family and friends/neighbors who are sick, recovering from medical procedures, having a tough time, new to the neighborhood. Often I’ll add homemade cheddar chive biscuits or Cashel Blue Cheese scones to the deliveries. I wish you could be my go-to for your delicious cheeses!

  • Elva

    You ARE good at making cheese, and I think that is an amazing and extremely useful skill, as who doesn’t like cheese? I like to think and hope I am good at practicing regenerative farming on my land.

  • ccr in MA

    Your cheeses look so delicious! My thing would probably be knitting; I’ve reached a comfort level with trying things and figuring out details that I wasn’t sure I ever would, 10 or more years ago.

Leave a Comment