We Visit A Farmer’s Cheese Factory, A.K.A. The Kitchen
Oh, Lawd, I need to get my act together and catch up with this blog. I swear, April and May in Switzerland have been sooo chock-a-block full of holidays that I forever had Mr. Big pokin’ his nose all up in my business from one day to the next and I haven’t been able to get a durned thing done. You would think that a Trailing Spouse had nothing to do but sit around and eat fois gras on crackers all day, but that is just not true. I have been busy. Truly.
Those of you whose spouses travel constantly for work will understand this concept. I actually don’t ever care where Mr. Big is, i.e. what country, I only want to know what day he will be home for dinner. Because that means I have to cook something resembling an actual meal. Seriously, when he is not home, I could not be bothered to cook. I will snack on whatever random food item I encounter in the cupboard and call it dinner. ‘Fess up, you other Spouses of Travelers. Who among us hasn’t dined on the heel of a stale baguette and a sliced tomato? No? Y’all are lying like rugs.
Big: Hey, honey. How was your day? What’s happening? Everything all right at home?
Me: Oh, my day was just lovely. Domestic Son was suspended for punching someone who made fun of his gelled hair and Small Son is missing. The police have been called. How was your day? In, where was it again, Cabo San Lucas?
Me: Well, I am so sorry to hear that, Mr. Big. Perhaps things will look brighter for you in the morning. I have to go now because the police are in the foyer.
Now, after 26 years of wedded bliss, our phone conversations go like this:
Me: Just checking that you will not be home for dinner until next Friday night at approximately 7:30, right?
Big: It’s 7:32. Maybe 7:35, depending on traffic.
Me: Great. See you then. Oh and Small Son is not answering the phone again which means that he needs money.
Big: Got it. Love you. Bye.
Anyway, what with all the holidays interrupting the past two months, Mr. Big was home a bunch and it really threw a wrench into my schedule. Sorry. Let’s catch up.
The next afternoon, I had signed us up in advance for what was described as “an authentic tour of an Abondance farmstead and cheese tasting”. Well, this will be awesome, I thought to myself. Let’s do it! We will have a nice lunch first, since the tour doesn’t start until 2 p.m., and then go taste some Abondance cheese and watch the whole process.
All six of us walked down to the village center and had a huge, 3-course lunch. Then, we walked to the tourist office and met the 15 other people in our group. Up the hill comes running and puffing, no, not a tour guide, but the farmer’s wife, herself. MY farmer’s wife. MY farmer’s wife who chases her cows all up and down my neighborhood in the spring. Well, hellooo, old friend!
First, she takes us to the hay barn, which I understand her to say is the barn where they keep the cows during the winter and feed them hay. I then think she is saying that the cows are now outside because the weather is nice.
Um, no. She was actually saying that the hay barn is where they keep the HAY in the winter and the cows, who are down in the OTHER barn will be let loose outside ONCE the weather is nice. Those pesky little prepositions get me every time.
Alrighty then. Poor In Like Flynn, who is a miniature person and weighs about 90 pounds, peruses the heaping platters of food on the table and looks like she is going to upchuck right then and there. Seal of Approval, on the other hand, is eyeing the homemade cake and thinking “at least we are not skiing”. Meanwhile, I am trying to translate the VIDEOTAPE that Farmer’s Wife has started playing ON THE TV IN THE KITCHEN all about how hubby made the cheese that sits before us and how he sends out his pigs to be slaughtered and made into sausage by the dude down the street.
I cannot relate to you how stuffed we were when we rolled out of that woman’s kitchen. It was ridiculous. She then proceeds to merrily lead us into the room DIRECTLY ADJACENT to the kitchen, literally not 8 feet away from where they eat every day, into, you guessed it, the barn where the cows were happily going about the business of being cows.
I’m exaggerating, of course, as I tend to do. The tour was really cool, even if you don’t speak French. If you come to Chatel or the Portes du Soleil for vacation, look for the signs that say “fromage ici, vente directe au public” or something to that order. That means that you have stumbled upon a farmer’s wife and her cheese and she is willing to sell some to you. Beware, though, you might have to watch a video and smell some cow butts. I recommend that you purchase your cheese BEFORE you visit the cow barn because after you see where it came from, you might not want to own it.
Gotta go, Mr. Big is due home soon and I’ve done my Betty Crocker impression and made a quiche. Please, Switzerland, enough with the holidays, already. I’m ready to return to my regular meals of a handful of dry granola and half a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.