Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
Making curds and whey at work, so the nursery rhyme is in the air.
Pretty remarkable the number of children who don’t know it.
“Little Miss Muffet Sat on her tuffet, eating her….
or if I helped them
‘…eating her curds and…’
So it seems that Miss Muffet is slipping out of the vernacular…..anyhow…
Curds and whey is pretty easy to make (are pretty easy to make? You can’t make one without the other….Is this a singular or a plural? Time to call the Grammar Police!)
To make curds and the resulting whey : take milk, add rennet (it’s an enzyme) and the milk becomes solid – that’s the curds – and liquid – that’s the whey…..Curds are the first step of making cheese. Many cheeses are pressed curds
Cottage Cheese/ Curds and Milk – different names/same thing.
Cottage cheese is unpressed curds and milk..See – you’ve been snacking on curds like a tuffetless Miss Muffet all along!
Whey is also pretty common in the 21st century – as a powder. Dehydrate the liquid and Voila!
Whey powder – an important component of a smoothies and power shakes and protein bars
Whey powder is also in Greek-style yoghurt.
Not in the Greek yoghurt, per se…..
I went to buy some Greek yoghurt this week, to lunch with my granola. I reached for my familiar brand, and right next to it
I bought the brand on sale. I read the BIG print, not the fine print….shame on me.
Here’s what was in it:
Pasteurized milk, skim milk, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, live active yogurt cultures (Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus), Vitamins A,C,D,E.
And the taste? Chalky/gritty/ not nice.
Note to self – ALWAYS read the WHOLE label, even in a jiffy grocery run.
Then there’s true ricotta – that’s ‘re-cooked’ in Italian, made from re-heated whey and buttermilk, which makes it the same thing as Gervase Markham’s 1617 “Whey Curds”.
Happy Medieval cheese-makers – that basket cheese in the middle looks an awful lot like a modern ricotta basket…and that’s one handsome dog, too
Another version of the same scene
Curds in Irish literature
The Vision of Mac Conglinne (14th century, Irish)
Stately, pleasantly it sat,
A compact house and strong.
Then I went in:
The door of it was dry meat,
The threshold was bare bread,
cheese-curds the sides.
Smooth pillars of old cheese,
And sappy bacon props
Fine beams of mellow cream,
White rafters – real curds,
Kept up the house.
It’s not just the food, it’s the wheys…