Savor Sister Linda here celebrating fall. Now that the summer rains have rejuvenated the parched land, we feel free to milk again. With that milk we make make cheese and enjoy fresh milk for coffee.
We’re out just before dawn every morning. Bats, who are nocturnal pollinators, are still out and about – and sometimes fly so close you can feel the breezes their wings make on your skin as they swoop by. I adore the feeling of being in a Liminal (in between) Zone. No longer night. Not yet day. All the categorizing that can limit our experience of living falls away. Bats abound as milking begins. Birdsongs are in full swing as we walk back to the ranch house with fresh warm milk.
So what does all this talk of liminal zones have to do with a food blog? Waking up to our Senses, that’s what.
It is enlivening to be intimate with your own food. It awakens the senses. Until I’d begun ranching some 20 years ago, I had forgotten how sensual the whole affair is. I’ll bet you may have, too. A cows’ udder and teats are warm. And slippery. And each teat is a little different – sometimes on the same cow. Your left hand reaches for one warm teat, and your right for another. One may be smaller. One rougher in your hand. One smoother.
The milk comes streaming out the tip of each teat, hitting the metal pale held between your knees with it’s own music. I’ve noticed that the sound varies depending on whose doing the milking. The more seasoned and competent milkers have a wonderful rhythm to their work. And a deeper sound. Us novice milkers … well … the sound is more erratic. Meanwhile, the milk streams out and is warm – the body temperature of the cow. The aroma of fresh milk hits your nostrils.As the milk fills the pale, the cool metal warms between your knees. I mention the feel of the milk because most people today associate milk as being cold, which it is when buying it at the store.
My Uncle recently shared with me that when his father, born in 1906, was a small boy in Minnesota they would milk daily. He was the son of a minister and he and his brothers would get up early, before school, and milk the cows. The metal containers were then loaded onto the back of the wagon. The milk was warm enough to warm the metal and my grandfather would huddle next to the milk containers to stay warm on the way to school. (At least at first it was warm enough to warm a small boy. With the passage of time en route to school the milk froze. We’re talking Minnesota.)
You may or may not have access to a cow, or goat or sheep to milk. But you can enjoy food at your own fingertips. Try roasting your own nuts or seeds. Experiment with seasoning them. Nuts are great fall fare and are great on yogurt. I love them in salads. Or use with warm pumpkin soups. Or just as a snack in and of themselves.
Preheat the oven to a low temperature – 175 degrees or so. I like to roast “low and slow’ as it keeps the oils in the nuts good and healthy, the nuts don’t burn, and the flavor is (to my tongue) richer. On a pan, spread out the seeds/nuts of your choice. I used pumpkin seeds (Pepita’s) here. Sprinkle a little salt and some chiltepin to taste, and roast until they smell and taste great. Every oven is different, but this takes me about 10-20 minutes. You could also roast them on the stove top on caste iron. Make sure you tend to the roasting and move the nuts/seeds about every so often so that they roast evenly.
Sprinkle on your butternut or pumpkin soup as in the photo below!