Friday, June 22, 2007

Normandy: The Third Door Is The Door To The Dairy

"The third door is the door of the dairy.
Peace; silence; endless dripping of the wicker trays where the cheeses are set to shrink; curds, heaped and pressed in metal mould; on hot July days, the smell of curdled milk seemed cooler and sicklier - no, not sicklier, but mildly sour, so washed out that it could only be smelt at the very back of one's nose, where it was already more of a taste than a smell.
Churn, scoured to the utmost cleanliness. Little pots of butter lying on cabbage leaves. Red-handed dairy maid. Windows, always kept open, but stretched with wire gauze to keep out cats and flies.
The pans are ranged in rows, full with milk which gradually turns yellow until all the cream has risen. The cream rises to the surface slowly; it puffs and wrinkles and separates from the whey. When the whey has lost all its richness, it is time to skim."
André Gide: Fruits of the Earth
trans. Dorothy Bussy, Secker 1949

from "The Cooking of Normandy" Jane Grigson.