When something goes majorly wrong in the kitchen, such as gluing my fingers together with molten sugar (OUCH), and I’m on the brink of very public meltdown, I’ve taken to sitting on the lawn outside the kitchen and having a good, long stare at the cows and their calves in the field opposite.
Mostly the cows just eat grass, nod at each other and move closer or further away from the herd, then eat more grass. But sometimes a cow will look back, and fix me with a penetrating stare of earnest blankness, and I’m completely beguiled.
The moment passes after a while, and the cow remembers all the grass she hasn’t eaten, and I remember all the éclairs that I haven’t topped. I return to the kitchen with bit more perspective and a calling to start a fair trade yoga and yogurt shop on a beach somewhere, to always wear tie dye and never wear shoes.
Week 6 was a sombre one, overcast by the long shadow of mid-term exams. We were all working overtime to practice our scones, caramel sauce, white yeast breads and so on, and waking up early to dash down to the herb garden to try to figure out the difference between dill and fennel (which I messed up anyway, at the cost of 12% of my mark. RAGE). Nobody was much fun, and most people were at least little bit tetchy.
When there were the inevitable tears and tantrums in the kitchen, whether it was welcome or not, I’d recommend a session with the Cows of Perspective. So here are some pictures of the cows staring which might help you, too. Also, if you like pictures of cows and think that cows should be farmed with kindness and respect as they are at Ballymaloe, then follow @thisisdairy on twitter, which tweets on behalf of GB dairy farmers and their #dairycows – least of all because they have regular stream of entertaining cow snaps.