From Feet to Belly: Shoes and Cheese Factory

So, any type of tour, I am there. It feeds the little brown nosing teacher’s pet ever present in my personality. It hits the “gotta get my edu-cational fix” just when I need it most. After coping with a cancelled week long retreat, this pst weekend, I decided to take a 24 hour whirlwind tour up to Amsterdam’s Hall of Fame Tulip Garden. But the day started out with a tour of a farm where they still make traditional Dutch clogs, out of pine, and fresh cheese.

The Dutch used to make a pair of shoes for fair maidens, placing them outside their doors. If your chicka wore the shoes out the next day, your proposal of marriage was said to be accepted by the family. If they were refused, well, you wasted some hardy pine.

Now, it takes only about 30 minutes to make a pair using an electric compass. But the shoes still take about 2 weeks to “break in”…which hasn’t changed in all these years. Sturdy, functional, and guaranteed to keep the tootsies dry. Did I buy a pair? NO WAY! I can’t commit to 2 weeks of walking on my tip toes! I appreciate the craft, but am happy not to be a farmer.

And, besides, I was more infatuated with the cheese making! The afternoon milk productions of the cows is added to an enzyme called RENNET, which creates a fermentation process much like that seen in beer or wine making, except it goes much faster.  After curds, or little chunks of cheese, form on the bottom, it is STIRRED and TWIRLED around and around for a long time, before they separate them from the WHEY. The little chunks are then salted and placed into a form. It is then sealed wih paraffin, and allowed to “age” up to even 6 months.  Yummy! There is nothing quite like a small round cheese in your cubby for three months. They educated me that even if the outside looks not hot to trot, the insides can be good for sometimes more than half a year. Gosh, guess this means I’ll be drinking more wine, huh?

In a world where fat is anti-healthy the cheese truly does stand alone. And yet, it satisfies so simply. The best picnics I’ve enjoyed was a slab of bread, cheese, pickled fish, fresh fruit and sliced fresh veggies. In increasing my sensitivity to that which I truly desire, I learned that cheese makes me full and focused. And I am not going to spout about moderation, or calcium intake, or anything like that. I am just going to say that eating cheese, especially this fresh kind with nothing funky added, makes me happy.

Stay Tuned for pictures of some freeing flowers!


3 thoughts on “From Feet to Belly: Shoes and Cheese Factory

  1. I just think it’s so ridiculous that cheese has such a bad reputation. Whenever I am about to say something ‘mean’ about cheese, I think about the French and the way they enjoy cheese (and how healthy and slim they are :-)). I would love to learn how to make it from scratch. My granny used to produce it on their farm when she was growing up. We have lost so many connections with our food… 🙂

  2. Oooh, look at the cheese. I stopped by the factory here too. It is so cool to see, and of course the samples are always great. Looks like you are having a great time and there is never a loss of fun things for you to do and look at.

    I checked out your gimme your stuff section and I would love to do an exchange. Let me know what you are thinking.

  3. i have been fascinated with dutch clogs since i’ve been a kid! i even had a little dutch dance that i would do pretending i was wearing the clogs. i am now even more fascinated by them!

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