It has rained every day since arriving at our third Wwoofing farm in Pleyben six days ago.
Want to know more?
· Work begins at 8am every morning, six days a week. Hours range from 5-6 hours a day.
· Added to this, volunteers must prepare their own meals and the meals for our hosts.
· There are about 12 mouths to feed at any given time.
· All meals are completely vegetarian.
· The only time we can use the oven is during bread-making day, on Friday.
Now, let's have a look at the kitchen:
There are five main ingredients provided upon which we can base our meals:
· Last year’s wrinkled and sprouting potatoes
· White rice
(There are a handful of other random additions to help you plan a meal, notably last year’s
|Teaser photo! This might be an image of the endless goat
cheese that we make and consume...
On the bright side, there is an unlimited supply of at least seven wonderful things:· Olive oil from southern France
· Raw goat milk and cheese (!)
· A variety of homemade breads
· Apple compote and peach jam
· Lettuces from the garden
· Red lentils
On the not-so-bright side, there is a relatively nonexistent supply of the following:
· Vinegar of any type
· Anything spicy
· Fresh fruit
· Tomato products
· YES, I SAID GARLIC
The refrigerator, you may guess, is essentially bare, and visits to town are difficult with the rain, a lack of free time, and the 45 minute round trip ride on one of two rickety, rusty bikes. We are lucky to sometimes come upon some random items that previous Wwoofers have left behind.
I am in a sort of paradise. And it doesn’t make any sense. But it’s true.
You see, John and I arrived on a scene in which 12 mouths need to be fed, but nobody really likes the idea of actually cooking for 12 people. Hell, it’s intimidating. It’s intimidating when you have a fully stocked kitchen. This was beyond intimidating.
|Trust the gal who dresses like slugs and then tries to kiss them
It didn’t take long for me to worm myself into the position of honorary head chef, and the real beauty is that the volunteers seem to be so tired and despondent from excessive intake of mashed potatoes and vegetable soup that I really doubt I could go wrong. But nevertheless, I aim high.
I’m going to show this bare-boned kitchen who is boss.
So, in the passing of six days, with the only variation in the aforementioned ingredients being a few surprise stand-ins, not a single meal in 12 has been repeated (this is excluding our bread, jam, and cheese breakfasts). And you know what? The food has been quite good. Having a kitchen full of able-bodied and diligent fellow volunteers to help, this is the closest I’ve come to being a small-scale chef, and boy does it suit me.
But the best part is my sous-chef. In the time I’ve known John, he’s shown his ever-augmenting ability to read my mind in the kitchen. He cuts the blasted onions. He senses oncoming mental implosions and prevents them. He washes the stupid, stupid dishes. And on top of that, he’s quite the chef himself. The guy has a palate.
I couldn’t survive this farm work and this kitchen duty without him. I would crawl into that oven (you know, the one we’re not allowed to use) and while away the hours thinking about gratins and baked chicken thighs, probably shedding a tear every hour or so. It’s not that the farm is so bad, it’s just that I need good food if I’m going to be volunteering 30 hours of my life per week. I need good food when I'm not volunteering at all. Life is too short to not eat well.
I'll leave you with some pictures of our lodgings, which are adorable.
|The view from our bedroom window of the various "barns" that are used for storage and animals
|Our bedroom, I must say, is quite lovely
So there you have it. Would you survive a kitchen like this? Do you have any special meals you'd make in the situation?