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Letter to the Editor: A word from your dairy princess

Editor:

Hi everyone, this Nicole Achtyl, your 2013 – 2014 Erie County dairy princess, writing in to tell you that October is cheese month.

Cheese is my favorite dairy product, especially extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese. Cheese comes in about 400 different varieties.

Cheese is made from milk, but the way that it is manufactured and aged is what makes all the different varieties. Cheese is made from whole, 2 percent low-fat, 1 percent low-fat or fat-free milk, or a combination of these milks.

In the United States roughly one-third of the milk produced by the farmers’ beautiful dairy cows is used to make cheese. It takes about 10 pounds of milk, or 5 quarts, to make 1 pound of cheese.

Cheese is made by coagulating or curdling the milk. It is then stirred and heated. The whey, or watery part of milk, is drained off and then the curd is pressed.

The cheese is then aged and, in some cases, ripened, to get the many flavors of cheese that we eat. Some of the common varieties are cheddar, colby, Swiss, mozzarella, Muenster, provolone, monterey jack, ricotta, feta, cream cheese, cottage cheese, blue, Parmesan and American.

One of my favorite meals in my house is homemade mac ‘n’ cheese. I think it’s a great thing for everyone to try. Here is the recipe if you would like to try it.

Homemade macaroni and cheese

1 – 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1/4 cup margarine or butter

One small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup flour

1 3/4 cups milk

8 ounces of Velveeta® cheese

Cook the macaroni. Cook and stir margarine, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat, until onion is tender. Stir in flour, cooking over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Stir in milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in cheese, until melted. Place the macaroni in ungreased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and stir cheese sauce and bake uncovered in oven at 375 for 30 minutes. Serve warm. This recipe makes five servings.

Remember: It is important to have your three dairy products every day, so make this for dinner or lunch one day and that will be one serving.

Eating your three products a day helps to build strong bones, promote healthy skin and helps with eyesight, as well.

Thank you very much for reading this article. I am one of the 35 county dairy princesses involved in the New York state dairy princess and promotion program. The purpose of this program is to promote the dairy industry and increases milk and dairy product sales and is funded by local dairy farmers, through their checkoff investment in the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Inc.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at Eriecodairyprincess@gmail.com.

Nicole Achtyl
Erie County dairy princess
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