A friend Natasha came to stay and cooked us all her Special Porridge one morning, immediately elevating herself to best guest status. Oats, cream, cinnamon (maybe we couldn't find the cinnamon but it is there in my memory nonetheless. Make of that what you will), grated apple and honey - I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. It was warm luxury in edible form. For breakfast.
So began my quest to make the perfect porridge. It will no doubt end up right where I started with Natasha's Special version, but I do want to investigate baked versus stirred and I'm very interested in grinding my own oats on account of health and taste - more about that in the next post - and I wanted to try raw milk versus supermarket stuff too. And that's where my neighbour Kim and her cow called Woody step in.
My husband loves the saying "there's only one good job in a dairy and the bull's got it". He loves saying it so much that even a suburban kid like me gets the message that it speaks of some kind of universal truth, that anything to do with milking must be the pits, at least on par if not worse than dealing with drunk morons at Kings Cross McDonalds. Or, at the top of my personal worst-job-ever-imaginable list, being an umpire at a grand slam tennis match. (So many decisions required, so quickly, with such conviction).
So it was with much surprise I learned that Kim, a very busy, capable, intelligent and I would say also happy woman, willingly milks Woody every morning. I needed to see how this worked.
And work it does. It helps that Kim has got her system down pat, and that she keeps a calf with Woody so she doesn't have to milk her in the afternoon as well. The whole process, including cleaning, took less than ten minutes and yielded about 6 litres of milk and often there is much more. At the civilised time of 7.45am (a bit later than usual only because I held the show up after nearly drowning myself and my only son trying to cross a river as a shortcut) Kim opened a few gates, attached a little electric milking machine and a few minutes later we were headed back to the house with a bucket of fresh milk. The milking process was certainly not the pits, it actually looked fun. And the white gold, as Kim calls it, tasted beautiful.
I have no intention of heavily weighing into the raw/pasteurised milk debate, but I do know that if you are going to forgo the benefits of pasteurisation, you want to make sure you know where your milk is coming from and that the supply chain is short. I would usually rather skimp on taste and guarantee safety. No tuberculous for me thank you. But seeing Kim milk her very clean and happy cow, seeing how careful she was in all steps of the milking process, seeing how clean everything was, I felt more than comfortable drinking her milk. In fact I felt lucky.
Thank you Kim.
Now I hope I can do it justice with the oats. To be continued ....