I’m Sorry, It’s Simply Impossible

The mystery of the haybath is solved: disposable underwear. Last week was the first time I had a hay bath and the first time I wore a comfortable strapless bra. Too bad it was paper.  I brought it home anyway.

The hay experience was a relaxing one: I lay atop two pillow-sized steaming hot muslin bags of hay, was covered in warm towels and more hay, and just steeped for 30 minutes or so while the spa lady massaged my face. Smelled great, didn’t itch, sold!

We’ve been living in Italy a week now and are settling in, by which of course I mean eating gelato every day, eating pasta every day, and beginning to think that goats smell like goat cheese rather than vice versa.

The ties to food production here are incredible: lots of farmer’s markets with real live farmers, a huge selection of local salami, cheese, produce, and wine. During today’s bike ride, we stopped at the little dairy in the middle of Monza’s big park. The dairy has about 30 cows, 20 goats, a few horses, and lots of chickens. The farmers were demonstrating the curd formation part of cheese production. To do this, they brought their milk warmer out to a shady area outside, warmed up the milk, added rennet or acid, and stirred a few minutes until curds formed. I thought the show was over at that point, but no: they brought out a bucket of water and had the kids in the crowd wash their hands. As each kid dunked their hands in the bucket, they were given a small cup-like plastic sieve. They scooped up some curds, drained them for a second, and viola! Cheese! Their cup was placed in a plastic bag, they were given a little activity booklet about cheese production, and they were done. A very slick operation, lots of fun for the kids, and some pretty tasty fresh cheese. We ate ours ahem Frida’s right afterwards while it was still warm.

Having a bit of a background in the U.S. food service industry, the demonstration was a little shocking: no waivers, no hairnets, no soap, no running water, no hand washing for the adults who inevitably helped the kids scoop the curds out of the too-high vat, no parents politely trying to find a discreet trash can in which to pitch the contaminated cheese. Parts of living in Italy are ridiculously hard (accessing care for Max, the loneliness that comes with not having friends or speaking Italian yet,) but I think we’re going to love it here.

p.s. When’s a good time to restart work? Right during an international relocation? Yes! A beloved colleague is on emergency medical leave, so I was called out of retirement to pitch in. Forgive me for not posting more frequently; I’m a tad overcommitted at the moment. Did I mention that Tobias leaves for Oslo in 3 hours and will be gone until Thursday? Luckily I’m just doing some very part-time consulting, and only for the next few months. Otherwise I’d think I was an idiot for adding work to my full-time job of getting the washer working so that I can launder the bathmat some kid just puked on. In the same vein, remember that time I thought I could manage this move while pregnant? Hahahaha.

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