Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Halfway (Back) Home

Now that I am officially halfway into my cookery course here in Ireland, I have a better vantage point with which to assess this journey. There are many things I’ve learned, loved and longed for.
I have learned to have a greater connection to food. Living on a working farm I have seen where it all starts; from the seed, the soil and Mother Nature’s gift of rain and sun. How food is prepared is something I already knew from my years of cooking experience, but I have a deeper appreciation now that I have learned new recipes. Because this farm is organic there is no such thing as waste. Everything is put back into the land through compost. Feeding the hens is more than an assigned duty to get rid of “trash.” What the hens eat is given back through the eggs they produce. Through first hand exposure to this “cycle of life” I have learned to have a more complex palette. When I taste food now I take time to savor it and think of all the work, seen and unseen, that went into it.
I have loved the beauty of the Irish landscape; the one hundred different shades of green, the soothing rain, the colorful sunsets, the brooding Irish Sea and the most amazing rainbows I have ever witnessed.
I have longed for potholders. Yes, potholders! For some reason, they don’t have potholders here, only “tea towels” (dish towels) which don’t seem to protect the hands from red hot, just out of the oven casserole dishes.
AND OF COURSE I have longed for my loved ones. It is a long time to be away and I have been feeling homesick.

**NOTE: This photo was taken by me one afternoon on a break from demonstration. I stuck my camera out of the school window. In no way shape or form has this been photo shopped (not that I would know how to do that anyway). Can you see the double rainbow?