Make Vegan Cheese At Home Because Your Daughter's A Vegan And You Hate It
As a gourmet BBQ chef who taught at the Southern Thunder Cooking School and a part-owner of my family's Big Smokey Cattle Ranch, I know the value of a good animal-based food product. I love me some meat, that’s for sure. And cheese? Mm-mm, it gives meat a run for its money. My go-to is some beef brisket nachos with some sharp jack cheddar cheese melted on top.
So you can understand why I would be reluctant towards putting anything in my mouth called “vegan cheese." Where does flavor come from if not from the thoughts, feelings, sensations and movements of the animal itself prior to slaughter? Now, don’t get me wrong, plants have their place: herbs and spices, for instance, or garnishing a good steak. The best plant-based foods are served cooked in a puddle of butter: Beans, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli. Look at that alliteration, it’s a match made in heaven.
So when I saw this vegan cheese kit from Druid’s Grove, I knew the “cheese” would be so, so bad that it might bring back the affections of my little girl. We used to be so close. When she was a kid, we’d bond over hot dogs or milking cows or throwing together a good dry rub. Six months ago she met some Peter into PETA, and became a vegan. I guess to throw a wrench in my dreams of her being crowned Miss Teen BBQueen at the annual Tri-County BBQ Cookoff. I even had designed a dress for her just like the Classic Lady Gaga one.
They always tell you that the teenage years are difficult between mother and daughter. I had no idea. The worst thing I did to my Catholic mom and dad was date a Lutheran my senior year of high school. But to give up meat? I would never have dreamed of bringing something like kale into the house, hiding it in my dresser in a little cooler. That's just sacrilegious.
But, a vast gulch had grown between her and I since the days when she presented cattle at 4-H. What happened to my little girl who used to eat Jerky like popsicles? I don’t know. Was she now under the spell of her evil, vegan beau who wore seaweed jeans? Was she dancing naked in the middle of the night with some freaks from the city, pouring almond milk on herself under the light of the moon? You know all of the terrifying things that go through a parent’s mind, all those scenarios that play out in your head. My hope was that this Vegan Cheese kit would bridge that gap between the BBQ queen I wanted, and my daughter, the vegan Dixie Chick.
We got the kit and dove in. It was like we were milking cattle again, except it wasn’t 3 am and we weren’t menstruating in sync. The instructions were easy-to-follow and we were able to get it all thrown together pretty quickly. She became so invested in pumping out vegan cheese for the first week that she forgot to hit us up for her weekly donation to PETA. She was happy and pleasant!
Personally, I thought the stuff tasted bland, smelled weird and had an hateful-to-the-tongue texture. My daughter lovingly ate every bite of vegan cheese she made that first week. By week two, she started to become distant again and she’d stopped making vegan cheese. I decided to talk to her to see what was up. She seemed so excited about the kit at first and we bonded so well, I didn’t want to lose the progress we’d made. It turns out she thought the vegan cheese was disgusting too. She’d been eating all of it just to prove a point, but finally admitted she couldn’t do it. I thought I’d won. I bought a block of Vermont cheddar to celebrate, but she still refused it. She said no cheese of any kind.
I’d rather it be no cheese than her and her hipster boyfriend off listening to Morrissey and screaming “Meat is Murder.” I’ll take the minor win. And now she’s been spending more time milking the dairy cows, although now she says Buddhist prayers versus singing pop songs like she did in middle school. I think over time she’ll come around. Maybe she’ll even take over our dairy and cheese operation on the farm one day.
And me? Well, I stopped shaving my pits. When I was going down the Druid-Wiccan-Vegan rabbit hole, researching cults and all, I learned a lot of things, thought about my place in this world: who I am, what it all means. It turns out I’m more of a hippie, pagan, earth-lover than I thought. (Hell, I ate all my placentas from my kids, raw, right after the birth. The women in my family have done for generations.) So I’ve made some changes of my own. Now every slaughter has a ritualistic ceremony attached to it and we started feeding our cattle with grass instead of corn and hormones. And the womyn in my coven love me, cause I've taken over the catering from the last kitchen witch... who was a vegan. HAHA!
So thank you, Druids Grove. Your cheese kit was the magic I needed to bring my daughter and me a little bit closer. Plus, she's getting her blood-iron levels back up.
Using the Meaty Sounding Amazon Prime Rib rating scale, I give this product 3 out of 5 Bezos. Not a great food product, but a great way to bring your family back together.