Can I Call You Later?
Today has been some day. First of all, I had the best sleep I’ve had since I got here. My bed is a solid rock of concrete and I guess if you go long enough without good sleep, eventually, you’ll just pass right on out and sleep. Bonus: I woke up to the soft sound of rain outside my open window. Heaven. The only problem with that was, there was another organic gardening class this morning at 7:30. Here in Ireland, you never let a little rain stop you from doing something or you won’t be doing anything. I’m hopeful these classes will be offered every Wednesday morning for the duration of the course. They’re very good and I’ve already learned a lot and can't wait to apply it to my own garden at home.
At Ballymaloe, Wednesdays are theory days where we are in the demo room all day, being shown various things and we don’t do any cooking. This morning at 9:00, a local cheese maker, Helen Finnegan from Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese, came and showed us the basics of cheese making. It’s a slow process and one that requires a lot of patience. We were also shown how to make butter, buttermilk, cottage cheese, yogurt and Labneh. It was fabulous! So can't wait to try all of this too.
I so wish I could share this place and the fruits of our labors with you. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced. One day after the next, we're exposed to what are basically simple things but in today's world of hurry, haste and waste, those basic, simple pleasures have been cast aside for expediency. Unless I purchase my bread at the Village Baking Co in Dallas, bread is tasteless and there are so many preservatives in it, it never goes off. I once saved a loaf of Mrs. Baird's Bread for over two months as a science experiment to see if it would EVER go bad.
It never did.
And while we have access to some fine butter at home, Plugra, Kerrygold, etc, you've never tasted sweet/salty, creamy butter like this. They roll it up in little foot long logs in brown parchment paper and slice it into little golden half-dollars. To me, eating these basic things, made by hand, with care and attention to ingredients, is a major thing that's been lost in our modern world. And we think we're sooo evolved?? What was once considered a necessity, bread and good butter, has become a luxury and something I wish I could share with everyone.
Since we weren’t cooking today, I wondered what lunch would be like. Quite to my surprise, it turned out to be a spectacular Thanksgiving-type feast! They had the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen, roasted and it was perfectly cooked. I had both white and dark meat and the white meat was as juicy and moist as it could be and then the stuffing! Roasted potatoes, green beans, tomato salad and all the dairy products they’d made this morning. Also, there was a whole table out in the main area of a dozen different sweets. It was the biggest spread I’ve ever seen them put on.
I have to say I was getting kind of tired of tarts and soups. ☺️
After lunch, we were treated to Colm McCan again and learned about Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and two sweet wines. He always serves a nice little pour for you to get a good smell and taste. I was a little hesitant to try 5 different wines so late in the day when right afterwards, I had committed to a class in lamb butchery.
Yes, I said lamb butchery. There were only eight of us in the class and Arden and I were partners. Every team had half a lamb and Philip, the resident butcher, showed us every move to make. It seemed an awfully daunting thing to attempt until you just did it. It was shockingly easy! Sawing through bones was interesting…
Near the end of the class, Allen called me. How many ladies have ever answered their husband’s phone call with, “Can I call you later, I’m butchering a lamb?” Well, this lady has.😊 When we were all finished, we had to cling wrap all the pieces and get them ready to be frozen. At some point, we’ll be cooking those babies, I’m sure.
This has been a really diverse and full day. I’ve gotten my order of work for tomorrow finished while sipping on some of my precious sparkling water and I’m beat. For once, however, I’m eager to hit the hay because the feathery mattress toppers Allen ordered for us to make our beds more comfortable arrived today! I’ve already gotten our beds made and ready to dive in to. It’s supposed to rain again tonight, so here’s hoping for some serious cozy-town.