Friday, May 13, 2011

My Mother's Day

This Mother's Day I treated myself: to a cheesemaking class at Love Apple Farm in Santa Cruz. We covered four different "soft" cheeses ~ chevre, feta, mozzarella, and ricotta, made with pasteurized goat's and cow's milk, and then raw cow's and goat's milk (surprise surprise: the teacher of the class prefers raw milk to pasteurized. She says it makes far superior cheese). Though I have made mozzarella and a couple other simple cheeses before, it was nice to have someone who knows what she's doing take me step by step. The highlight of the class for me ~ and, really, what tipped me over the edge to sign up for it ~ was that we got to milk a goat. Interestingly, during my high school years I lived on a dairy goat farm. But I never even thought about milking a goat; I had no interest and was not required to. But Sunday ~ what a thrill it was! And how intimate it felt to me, grasping her warm, very soft and silky udder and expressing warm milk. I couldn't help but talk to her and thank her. I think especially because Anjali and I are still in a breastfeeding relationship, it felt pertinent and close to my heart ~ on Mother's Day, no less. It was also a surprisingly simple movement to express the milk; perhaps it made intuitive sense because of shared mammal-hood. After the class, I waited for Sealion and Anjali to pick me up and was hanging around talking with the goats in their pasture. The farmhands walked up and invited me to help them milk the goats. So I got to milk a goat to completion, as opposed to just an introductory teaser, like in class. And then Sealion showed up and he got to milk too (Anjali missed out due to carseat naptime). Definitely an activity that comes quicker with practice. And I couldn't help but feel like a modern "city slicker," oozing with novel pleasure the way I did at a chore that was for centuries a mundane activity for many. I look forward to a time in the foreseeable future when milking time can be a habitual twice-daily chore for me, too.

A couple of the girls out in their gorgeous pasture.
Breathtaking location of Love Apple Farm, which includes a stand of mature redwoods. The horizon is the ocean.
Instructor Fiona in her kitchen classroom.
Embarrassingly cheesy (haha!) grin on my face ~ *blush!*
Hand-pulled mozzarella with four preparations: no-salt and barely-pulled, no-salt and pulled, salted and barely-pulled, salted and pulled. Can you tell the difference? The taste and texture were remarkable.
Chevre wheel decorated with edible flowers ~ nasturtium, viola, and chrysanthemum.
Outro de hilarity: what Papi and Anjali were doing while I was in class. ;-D

I notice the photos are cut off a bit when using Flickr.. I sure don't feel like fixing that...

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