It’s called that for a reason.

I went grocery shopping tonight (very exciting Saturday evening doings over here in GriotLand, let me tell you! And also, we’ve got another storm coming in tomorrow, so putting if off would just be annoying).  I spent a ridiculous amount of time wandering up and down the aisles after I’d gotten all but one of the items on my list: cheesecloth.  I asked a young woman employee if the store carried cheesecloth, and she sent me down aisle 1o, “Or maybe on the back wall above the meat department? Yeah, maybe that’s the best place to look.”  Off I went, though I had looked both in aisle 10 and along the back wall above the meat department twice already.  And on that 3rd pass, I still didn’t find what I was looking for.  So I gave up and got on line.

But then an older woman got on line behind me.  She looked like someone who would actually know what cheesecloth was — the young woman employee had done that sweet, head-cocked-to-the-side-in-confusion thing when I’d asked her, and I’d had to give her a more detailed explanation.  So I asked my line companion, and she suggested aisle 11.

I walked down aisle 11 saying “cheesecloth” in a little sing-song way over and over in my head …

You see, last week I made paneer for the first time.  It was a bit of a fail — too loose, too crumbly — and I decided that part of the reason for the fail was that I’d used one of my flour sack towels to strain it and not cheesecloth.  Because my cotton towel would be just fine, right?  And who has cheesecloth, anyway?  Right.

Tonight, as I walked down aisle 11 singing my little cheesecloth song, I had a fabulously comical, head-slap-worthy moment of clarity: Oh! It’s called “cheesecloth” because people use it for making cheese!

My stunningly un-clever epiphany aside, my check-out line friend saved the day.  In among the mops and handi-wipes was … CHEESECLOTH!! 

(Paneer, Round 2, coming soon to a kitchen near me.)


And we’re off! Today is the first day of the 7th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! stop over at Ruth and Stacey’s to join the fun!

SOL image 2014


17 thoughts on “It’s called that for a reason.

  1. Now I have some cheesecloth in my kitchen drawer which I bought some years ago for an abandoned project that has slipped my memory. However I DO remember having to search in the store for it and that I, too found it in an odd place. I am happy to hear your voice again AND it is impressive that you are making paneer!


  2. Hahahaha, I had the exact same “OMG CHEESEcloth!” moment while I was making my strangely-almost-synchronized-with-yours paneer! Funny you mention the flour-sack towel, because after I bought my cheesecloth I went online and researched it a bit more, and was left wondering whether I should have just used my flour-sack towels instead of buying the cheesecloth. ;b What I got was such a loose weave, I’m not sure it will hold up to reuse (though it has made it through one washing, at least), and that irks me.

    Good luck with your next attempt!


    1. Most of the recipes I’ve found say I should use muslin, but I haven’t tried that. My cheesecloth worked well, and my second paneer was definitely better than the first … still not a full-on success, however. My paneer coach (co-worker with lots of experience) blames my recipe, which had me use 1/2 and 1/2. She suggests the for attempt number three, I should forego the fancy business and just use milk. I’ll keep you posted!


  3. Stacie,
    I love this line- ” the young woman employee had done that sweet, head-cocked-to-the-side-in-confusion thing when I’d asked her,”.

    That would be my look if someone asked me where the cheesecloth was. I have an idea of what it is but I have never used it. I can connect with that feeling of looking for the last item on your grocery list. I always have something I cant find. So glad you found it and hope your panner works out. Please post pictures of it!!! Or better yet write a slice about making it. Take care-so glad to connect again through this challenge.


  4. Making paneer is an art form, so props to you for trying, cheesecloth or no cheesecloth! Your post reminded me of my childhood in India, and our cook setting out chunks of home make paneer.


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