I have this thing for cream cheese. It’s sort of an obsession, really. Okay, okay, you twisted my arm, I admit that I’ve had a deep rooted, long-loving romance with cream cheese since I was a kid.
I have this memory. I was probably about 5, circa late 1970’s, and the whole family was crowded around a television set watching The Dukes of Hazard, sharing a bowl of Grammie’s cream cheese dip, potato chips and a pop. There was one family night of television and snacks each week. We all LOVED this night.
As I grew up and moved out on my own, I really missed that time with my family. My brothers yuckin’ it up, while I snuck that last bit of the dip! I can’t tell you how many chips were smashed as we fought over the last scoop. Then we fought over who got to lick the bowl. It was something that has stuck with all of us. I recall having discussions about Grammie’s dip at family reunions and my cousins having similar memories.
Food, like the sense of smell, can bring back a memory with just a taste. Cream cheese and I became good friends when I was living alone in New York City. As I would eat, I could hear my brothers cracking jokes and feel my dad’s legs as I snuggled behind him on the couch. It was as good as being there.
While I was beginning my healing journey, I got a little verklempt thinking that I might not be able to have my chips and dip anymore! I was always told that they were bad for me and I needed to stop eating it. Come to find out, it’s the TYPE of cream cheese one uses and how the chips were cooked that makes the difference.
I don’t eat them quite as often as I used to, but when I’m hankering for that comfort and the feeling of home, this is where I go. I’ve learned to make my own cream cheese and I know what type of chips to look for.
Easy Peasy Cream Cheese
Whole Milk Plain Organic Yogurt (the best quality you can afford. Raw is always best.)
1 large stainless steel strainer
Cheesecloth or linen cloth
Place strainer over the large bowl. Place the cheesecloth inside the strainer. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth. Let it sit for 12-24 hours depending on the firmness desired.
This process separates the milk fats from the whey. You will want to drain off the whey half way through the process, unless you have a really large bowl. Put the whey in a glass container because we will need it in future recipes. It will keep for up to 6 months, so be sure to date it. The cream cheese will keep for one month in a glass container covered. By the way, permanant markers wipe off of glass!
There are other types of cultured dairy we will discuss later on. But for now, please be aware that you can also use homemade Kefir, Raw Whole Milk Buttermilk separated, or Raw Milk separated.
The recipe in Nourishing Traditions calls for 2 quarts to make 2 cups cream cheese and 5 cups whey. I often use whatever I have on hand if I’m looking for chips and dip!
Nourishing Traditions 2ed, Whey and Cream Cheese, page 87
Grammie’s Cream Cheese Dip (modified by Patra Lynn)
(I use whatever amount of cheese I have and season to taste)
Cream Cheese (homemade or organic)
Milk or water to soften
Himalayan or sea salt
Put the cream cheese in a bowl, add a small amount of the liquid until it is soft enough to scoop with a chip. Add the seasonings to taste. Serve.
Chips is a huge discussion on it’s own. The oil they are cooked in really makes the difference on whether or not a chip is acceptable to eat. Those cooked in coconut oil are your best bet.
Healey’s please forgive me for putting the coveted Cream Cheese Dip out there for everyone to see! I just knew I couldn’t talk about it like I did and not share. I love you from the bottom of my heart, and the top, OH and the middle too. 🙂 Kisses!