Monday, March 1, 2010

Apple Cider and Keeping Track

There was a time about 15-20 years ago, that I regularly sewed.  The selection of clothing in stores was much poorer than it is now, and there were many times when it was cheaper for me to make some of my own clothes than to buy them in stores (we were poor then, too.  I was a young engineer and my husband was a good spender of money we didn't have.). I also sewed house things; slipcovers for two sofas, some quilts and many, many curtains.  I used to put notes on patterns about what changes I made, or as I often did, add paper to lengthen the pattern, say for pants, so that I would be able to reproduce good work, or avoid a change that didn't work well.

I remembered that recently because someone asked me if I had written notes about how I modified the hooded scarf I recently finished (no, I did not).  Then, last night I was asked how I made my hard apple cider and whether I had documented it in my notebook (no.  I don't have a notebook).  I'm also realizing that I need to keep track of the cheeses I make and how I made them.

In Chemical Engineering school they drilled that into our heads.  Keep track of everything that you do in a notebook.  The notebook has to have pages that won't tear out.  You have to write in pen.  The notebook has to be a record of what you did, good or bad.  I'm still dented from being banged in the head about this, so yesterday I bought 2 sewn/bound notebooks.  One for fermented liquids and the other one for cheese.  There is an excellent website for keeping track of knitting projects, called Ravelry.

Then yesterday evening I took some of my cider to a group of experts, a brewing guild.  I already knew most of them from other things, and trusted them to give me the straight skinny on my cider.  It was most definitely NOT tasty two weeks ago when I bottled it, so I prepared them for the awfullness I expected us all to taste and was assured that I'd get feedback on what I did wrong.

And ... it was ... good.  It's gotta be an accident, because nobody, I mean nobody's first project turns out well.  I did everything wrong and made up a few things from multiple sources on the internet. I only made a 1-gallon batch (8 bottles) because I was sure it would be bad.  But the praise of the folks at the brewer's guild last night has encouraged me to continue.  Time to add some brewing items to the list of things I'm watching for on craigslist!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the rave reviews, but of course, if you like it, its what really matters.