|Reception lobby of Ballymaloe.|
Exxxxxxxxhale. First day of school, check and done. Where to start describing this surreal experience (I still don't believe this is my real life, pretty sure I'm actually in a really, really long dream)? Ok, so, at this point I'm adoring living in a European country. Spaces, cars, bathrooms, roads, everything is smaller. People don't waste like Americans do, paper cups, paper towels, paper everything is not a thing here. When you leave a room, the lights are turned off. Water is treated as gold. Europeans talk about issues. And they are quiet. So fucking quiet. Dam, I can easily feel like an elephant in a china shop because, first, I suffer from tinnutis making me deaf as a bat, so, I can't hear what the fuck you said anyways and second, people fucking mumble here. They are, like, mysterious and stuff. Well, hot dam, I can be mysterious, too! Back to the adoring part. So.
|Pantry at Ballymaloe.|
Today, after a "proper" Irish breakfast, (in quote, because the Ballymaloe breakfast has no proper Irish-ness to it, not a cornflake or rasher in sight, as Darina quipped) we sat and listened to Darina talk about school rules, regulations, where to shop, what to do and what not to do, how to get a doctor, practical things like that. A list of local suppliers was provided and we're encouraged to shop them, her passion for the slow food movement was shining, it's not dirt, it's soil she demands. Ask your grocer to keep the dirt on your veg, she says! Our food here at Ballymaloe has no twiddles on top, she plainly states.
Then, onto a delectable lunch of Ballymaloe breads, local produce and vegetables from the Ballymaloe gardens, tomato basil soup, local smoked salmon and oysters, fresh caught Ballycotton shrimps, chicken liver paté, roasted aubergine (in US English that's eggplant) salumi, deviled eggs. Needless to say, we all left with full bellies.
A little break and then into the demo room for our first cooking demonstration. Darina demonstrated how to chop and sweat an onion, make a garlic paste, slice veg, juice lemons and make lemonade with simple syrup, a basic soup recipe, carrot top pesto, and summer fruit salad with sweet geranium cream — very basic cooking skills all using local, sustainable ingredients. All techniques I feel pretty confident in doing. The only variable for me is the equipment I'll be using. A liquidizer!? The ovens in celsius?! Converting metric to US measurements?! Actually measuring things!? I hardly ever measure at home!
Well, those worries are for tomorrow's excitement. So, wish me luck!