Wednesday, October 25, 2006

cow pies

This is off the usual thread, but I wanted to write about it before I forgot entirely.
My parents have an apartment in Bavaria. They’ve (we’ve) had it since I was two or three and we went there once or twice a year for as long as I can remember.
I love Bavaria. My selective memory has made almost everything about it lovely. The mountains, the food, even the interminable waiting in the car while my parents went “antiquing.”
This picture by my friend Markus – taken on his family’s vacation in Switzerland – reminded me of Bavaria in several ways.
1) We had a cocker spaniel who thought he was part cow. Once we got close to the town where the apartment is located, he’d start going nuts (in the back seat with me and my two sisters – comfy and cozy), sniffing at the window like mad. Always a good sign, especially with the inevitable upcoming traffic jams. But once we were there it was hilarious to see him run around and play with the cows. They, in turn, thought he was part cow, too – he had the proper pattern, after all. Occasionally retrieving him from the other side of an electric fence (under which he could fit without getting zapped) was another matter entirely.
2) I, as you may guess, was an ass even as a young kid. My oldest sister had tried some mud packs and I thought it would be HI-la-ri-ous to put some authentic cow mud on her face. Turns out it’s not as funny in real life as it was in my mind.

Sorry, Tina.
3) Finally, it reminds me of milk. Here’s how. Across the street from the apartment building is a farm that used to have milk cows. (I think they - the cows as well as the farmers - have since gone into the tourism business. The farmers rent out rooms. The cows dance for tips.) In the afternoons, after five, we would go over there and get milk. Fresh milk.
Omigod is that stuff good! Warm. Body-warm. Full-fat. Un-homogenized, un-pasteurized, just ladled out and consumed. (I know this kind of stuff grosses Julie out.) But here’s the best part. You know how oenophiles (fancy word for wine-lovers) can tell things by smelling wine and claim to taste hints of fruits other than grapes in the wine?
Well, lactophiles (I'm a charter member) can taste and smell the meadows on which the cows have grazed in the milk. Really. And it’s the same smell as the main dry-down note (a term I learned as an Estee-Lauder-husband) in the cow patties.
What I’m saying is that I saw Markus’s picture and thought, “Yum.” And I meant it.

And, for extra credit, a translated Fredl Fesl joke: Why do Bavarian weddings always include cow pies?
So the flies stay away from the bride. (bzzzzTING! or Oom-Pah-Pah, Oom-Pah)


green clementine said...

Nice story!

Here is one for you: I used to work for a well-known Swiss chocolate manufacturer when I lived in Germany. This company tried to move production from Switzerland to the US to lower production costs. Worldwide sales plummeted as a direct result. They found out that it was due to the different taste of the milk used for the chocolate. They also tried to export Swiss milk to the US factory but that did not work either. They had to re-move the factory back to Switzerland. This is what is called a cost-saving exercise by multinationals...

Here is to the Alpine milk!

Trent said...

I think maybe it's smiling.