Monday, October 22, 2007

Cow Beauty Contest

There we were, the six of us. Standing there in the middle of a field splattered with cow dung. None of us farmers. None of us dressed appropriately; coats too thin for this unseasonably cold October day, regular sneakers on, rather than the Wellies, or rubber rain boots that every other person, (man, woman and child) were so smartly dressed in. We were freezing and covered in crap.

My four kids, husband and I were standing at the dairy cow beauty competition in the village of GrĂ¼ningen. Most of the small towns around Switzerland have these contests every autumn. On this day, farmers run their cows down from the pastures into the town where they are lined up and paraded, compared and finally judged so that one cow will reign supreme for that following year. Sort of like the 4-H contests at state fairs, except that these cows are neither auctioned or eaten at the end.

All this mucking about amongst cows made me hungry. So I was overjoyed when I spied a raclette stand.

Raclette, that special cheese produced only here in Switzerland and in the most eastern part of France. Half of a wheel of the cheese is set under a heat source and, as the cheese begins to bubble and melt, it is scrapped off the wheel onto a plate of awaiting boiled potatoes or bread. It is gooey and warm and absolutely perfect for cold weather.

Raclette stands are ubiquitous at outdoor Swiss Christmas markets. They are a sign that winter is upon us.

I stood there, ankle deep in mud and poop, listening to the cows mooing, watching my ill placed, poorly dressed gang descend upon that plate of melted cheese and bread, and I thought, ‘man, this is where it’s at’.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Hot, bubbly cheese sounds so good right now...so does a cow.