Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Sound and fury

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sound and fury

Granny did go to the carnival on Saturday and got lots of pictures. She won't lumber you with those until after the local version is over, in 10 days time. But she can tell you she has discovered the origins of carnival - thanks Wikipedia ; a mediaeval Italian pre-Lent festival, 'Carne-vale', meaning, literally, goodbye meat. Well, that bit's obvious, isn't it; almost banal. How couldn't she/you guess?

Meantime, just to keep you happy she'll put up this picture of .. Granny and Beloved, suitably attired?..

Well no, actually... But it gives you the general idea.

She is going to blather on now about something entirely different.

Years ago when she was involved in these things she read a book by a very famous English anthropologist, Mary Douglas. Called Purity And Danger it was about taboos, not just around food, Kosher, Halal rules, etc, etc but various other kinds - spatial, object related, relationships, etc etc. Famous anthropologist came up with the view - this is stating it VERY VERY roughly, famous anthropologist didn't/doesn't do simple -that on a structural level it all related to human need to order their lives within the chaos, uncertainty around them. If you define what it acceptable to you - generally or individually - you feel safe enough to carry on your existance in an orderly way: meaning you know, literally, who and where you are. Whereas anything outside, offending this, this makes you feel uneasy. As someone not herself fond of rules of any kind, as someone far from orderly in her own domestic arrangements, the anthropologist claimed to reach such an understanding when asked to have a bath in a room half of which was taken up with gardening tools and related clutter; a combination that offended all her sense of what a room in which you wash yourself should be like.

Granny has recently recognised such outrage in herself. Largely it relates to the distinction between human and animal towards which her Beloved is a little, shall we say, insouciant. It cannot just be that as a professional biologist he considers that humans are animals; sharing well over 90% of their DNA with goats say - or with chickens come to that. It's more complicated than that. It's about what he considers acceptable; and she definitely does not.

Outrage started simmering, just a bit, when she found two of the saucepans she had been looking for, both the size for what she was planning to cook, exactly where in her view they shouldn't be; one, lurking in the chicken run, the other in the goats' pen. And when, shortly after, she encountered the best and expensive cast-iron casserole full of a disgusting mixture designated as 'chicken food' and simmering on the kitchen stove, her own temperature began rising still higher; beyond simmering, towards boiling point. Not long after, she went to have a shower, digging out a clean towel and a clean t-shirt en route. At least she thought they were clean - certainly they'd been through the washing-machine; unfortunately they'd been through it alongside Beloved's cheese cloths. Bubble bubble bubble went her internal saucepan, boiling over totally when she found one of the straw bands her Beloved uses to enclose his cheeses and pattern -very prettily - their outsides nestling on the washing line, too close, much too close, actually touching one of her very best white duvet covers being prepared for next week's paying guest. Though the paying guest is coming to be instructed on local natural history, Granny does not think this should include forced exposure to the smell of the product from one of the local - not even wild - animals.

By this time the outrage to her sense of good order was clobbered, catapulted, hurtling way beyond her own particularly boundaries. She washed the duvet-cover; again. And there was a great deal of noise, not just a boiling noise, lots and lots of other noises, all of them loud. And every single one of them made by her.

There are now a new set of pots. And very definitely a new set of rules and taboos. None of the pristine pots nor any of the best pottery bowls will be used for animal foods or products. The animals will make do with the handleless ones, most with their non-stick qualities worn off by Beloved's tendency to put something on to cook and then forget about it, they will make do with the chipped or commonplace bowls. None of these evil mixtures before or after cooking will stay in the kitchen - the bloody flies are coming back and how those little black devils LOVE them. They will reside in the dairy-cum toolshed out the back, which has nice wire meshes protecting the developing cheeses from contamination. Oh and any kind of cloth relating to either cheese or animals will be washed SEPARATELY. Granny does not care to go around smelling of sour milk and nor she suspects do her guests.

There are warnings of high winds here this week. She is not so solipsistic as to assume for one moment that she has generated them- she does after all have to admit -in her nicer, not to say quieter, moments - that Beloved's home-made ricotta cheese is DELICIOUS. But still, you never know.


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