Springtime in Chicago

20 May

The Yogurt Pedaler has been busy this spring – I had two great events in May, one teaching 2nd graders about yogurt on the southwest side of Chicago, and another at the fantastic ReBuilding Exchange’s DIY Craft Fair in Bucktown.

I made a new friend in May. Her name is Mari, and she is one of those people whose patience I profoundly admire – she’s an elementary school teacher. Mari spent the month of May teaching her 2nd grade class about food, and she wanted me to come teach them a bit about yogurt. Her kids were fantastic – they were shocked to find out you could milk goats and buffalo, and they loved the idea that the magic of yogurt happened because of bacteria – once I convinced them that not all germs are bad germs. Then I had them taste some homemade, plain yogurt, and I asked them to describe it. “It tastes like vomit!” seemed to be the consensus, and when I pointed the udders out on photos of the cows we were sharing, a few declared the dirt was gross and they would never drink milk or eat yogurt again.

I was terrified I had scared them away from any dairy products, but Mari later comforted me by saying they visited a farm a few days later and every one of the kids tried their hands at milking a cow and tasting some of the fresh milk.

Poor cow.

A few days later, I taught yogurt-making to an entirely different audience. The ReBuilding Exchange was hosting their “Going Against the Grain: DIY Fair” and I found myself surrounded by kindred spirits. Beekeepers and honey makers, home brewers, gardeners, bike mechanics, cake bakers, and chicken parents made good company to the Yogurt Pedaler, and I ran out of my supply of yogurt less than an hour into the event.

Every time I do a workshop or demonstration like this, I learn just as much as I teach, since most people have some experience or obscure knowledge about dairy products. This time, I came away with a real desire to experiment with making flavored yogurt – and I’m sure if I succeed, the kids in Mari’s class will like me a lot more!

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