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Never Too Young To Make Cheese

Hands stretch fresh mozzarella in a tank of warm water

Hello, my name is Anya Firisen.

I am ten years old and wanted to make cheese. I thought that cheesemaking was interesting because I love cheese and I love to cook. So I thought, well why don’t I try to make the cheese that I love so much. So when my Mom got my Dad a book called Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll for his birthday, I really wanted to try it for myself. My Mom said, “You and Anya can make cheese together!” When we went over to our friends’ house their mom said “I booked a cheesemaking class but now I can’t go, do you want to go in my place?” Of course I said yes.

I went to a beginners cheesemaking class taught by Ricki Carroll. Ricki Carroll lives in a beautiful house in Ashfield and loves cheese. She is a cheese teacher with her assistant Jamie. She owns the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. It was a bit weird to be the only kid in the class, but I got used to it. It was more fun and longer than I had expected, but it was so worth it. I learned more then I learn at school. Ricki gave all sorts of tips but my favorite one was this one: put ice cubes on the bottom of a pot to prevent scorching on the bottom. DO NOT STIR THE BOTTOM!!!!!! Where the ladle touches it will scorch.

It is one of those classes that helps a lot. You get to taste many different types of cheeses and you learn stuff like: don’t put pressure on the cheese press too quickly or your cheese will get all watery. And don’t put too much salt in your cheese or nobody will want to eat it because it tastes absolutely horrid. You can also eat cheese that Ricki makes the night before, and there is dinner or lunch, depending on when you are there. It was really fun and a great experience. 

Anya Firisen

Anya Firisen is 10 years old and she already knows more about cheese than most of us. Ricki Carroll of New England Chesemaking Supply met her when she attended a Cheesemaking 101 Workshop with her former pre-school teacher. Soon after, Anya appeared in an article in Culture magazine (Fall, 2010) called "Lunchbox Lessons." She made recommendations and gave advice to help other young cheese enthusiasts. In fact, Culture teamed up with the Cowgirl Creamery to offer a selection of the cheeses Anya recommended.

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