Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fresh from the Carpathian Cow

Two kinds of fresh cow's cheese made right in the village by
Irene's neighbor, where you can even meet the cows. The poached eggs too
are from the neighbors, the hens from which they hail roam around
freely in the yard. The bread was baked by a student, Silvio.

Freshly milked milk that was boiled then served.

Recently, in a yoga retreat with James Boag in the Carpathian mountains organized by Irene Zaarour, I had the simple and yet extraordinary pleasure of having fresh cheese, milk, and homemade yogurt that came from a cow I could have taken a brief walk to visit.

The cheese, hand made by Irene's neighbors in the village, were rennet-free (rennet is an enzyme from the stomach of cows that is used often in the production of cheese), making it vegetarian friendly. They tasted so lively. It had the flavor of freshness, if that makes any sense. 

The milk, straight from the cow's udders, was actually boiled at the house where we stayed, while the fresh eggs came from free-range chickens around the neighborhood. Everything tasted as it should. Eggs tasted like real eggs. Milk tasted like real milk.

One of the problems with the way we are eating today is how far removed we are from our food. It used to be that we knew where our food was coming from, the patch of garden the veg grew, the livestock from which the meat product came from. In older hunter-gatherer societies, human beings really interacted with their food sources. The relationship was sacred. 

These days, we've lost that connection as we shop in supermarkets that have such a myriad of products hailing from all over the world. In many ways, it's great. My love for quinuoa, for example, would only be possible thanks to this thing called globalization. Still, there are so many places, people, industries between the fresh source of the thing that we are eating and our own mouths. It's disconcerting. 

So, it makes a huge difference too when you know where your food is coming from. When you know it's made with love, it sanctifies eating as an act of love, which nourishes our bodies as well as our hearts.

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