Thursday, May 16, 2013

Like Buttah


            Today my “chore” was butter.

            We have chores every day on a rotation. I swear Darina Allen (founder and Grand Matriarch and Entrepreneur extraordinaire), should write a parenting book! We all have rotating tasks that not only get the work done, but teach us in the process the hard behind-the-scenes work of a daily culinary/hospitality operation, and to have ownership and pride in it.

So far some of my most memorable chores have been: salad making where we gather the salad greens at 7:30 am (I spaced that one), taking all kitchen scraps out to the chickens, setting the lunch tables, blitz/cleaning the kitchen after all the damage from four hours of cooking has occurred, dishes after the afternoon tasting, serving lunch  or hosting and being nice to guests, making the daily fresh lemonade, gathering herbs, and today for me was making buttah!

            So, I arrive to find Tim (Mrs. Darina) has brought me about a quart of heavy cream from the morning’s milking of the Jerseys. Now it goes in one of manys (they don’t have KitchenAids.. they have … ) Kenmores (and I don’t think it has anything to do with Sears). Then you basically beat the “H” out of it until it separates into granules. Next you rinse it until the water runs clear and let it drain for the next two hours. Salt is added at the ratio of 2% of the total weight of the butter. However, I wanted to make it a fresh butter (won’t keep) and so I added just a gentle amount of English Sea Salt.  Next you get out the “butter paddles” (boards ridged on one side), and roll balls of butter. So zennnnnn. And very satisfying. I dare say more than a few folks chose my butter balls at lunch!

            Simple… natural … why don’t we do it for ourselves? How many of our children/ grandchildren/ nieces and nephews even know where butter comes from?

            One thing I’m finding, living closer to the food supply, is that smaller amounts of really good stuff satisfies much more completely with less bulk. Are we starving for our sources?... and so instead eat and drink to satisfy an elusive  hunger?

            I look out on the harbor every day … and it is enough. The TV is silent. Our music is the song of the birds and the howl of the coastal storms. It is enough.

            In two weeks I’ll have a comprehensive test on everything I’ve learned (or was supposed to learn so far): techniques in the kitchen, herb and spice identification and uses, and what’s growing on the grounds .. both wild and intended.  I’m feeling good about most cooking techniques (though I’m a little dicey on jointing the chicken and getting the “oyster” in … and fileting a fish -- we’ve learned the round fish.. next is the flat fish). Herbs and spices I know… but seeing all the different lettuces (or “leaves” as they say here), are a bit baffling, and yet foraged greens are slowly making their way into my bones.

            Where do I take this? What do I do with all that I am learning? Can I drink in every moment without getting lost in the details?

            Stay tuned!


  1. Looking forward to today's post morphing into a sermon.
    I remember watching my mom and dad make butter together and the really special thing is that I have the spoon/paddle they used.
    You are enriching my life with each post. Thank you!

  2. You can drink it all in and then some---and won't get lost one little bit! And even if ya did, remember--"Not all who wander are lost!"

  3. Love you comment of eating close to the source. I served an awesome salad made from my Tower Greens yesterday at Meet-n-eat and it was a huge hit!! Not only the taste but the smell was wonderful. Nothing like eating that close to the source!!