On the heels of writing about the first two days of our three-day “From Moo to You” activity block, I can’t help but revisit with an update. Day three of this cow-themed activity was farm-classy meets eleven-year-old boy, in all the best ways.
As the boys gathered in a circle at the start of our hour-plus together, I asked them to help to prepare for our imminent picnic by volunteering to be in one of two groups: Team Crackers or Team Ambience.
The job of Team Crackers was pretty self-explanatory: we’d be making crackers from scratch to pair with our freshly-made cheese. “I’ve never heard of anyone putting fromage blanc on crackers before,” noted one camper from Paris, going on to explain in French – and then translated into English – “Many French people eat fromage blanc for breakfast with jam.” Despite the nontraditional pairing, the boys helped to roll and cut out cracker dough with enthusiasm as that same camper from France flipped through a book of French cheeses and pointed out other kinds of cheese he eats regularly (inspiring intense jealousy from me and all other cheese lovers in the group).
The job of Team Ambience required a bit more explanation. The conversation went like this:
Me: Does anyone know what “ambience” means?
Camper (hand raised and jumping up and down): Ambience is one of my favorite words. It’s of French origin. It means the atmosphere or feel in a room. Like, for example, if you go to a party with a casual ambience, there might be light jazz playing in the background and overstuffed armchairs to sit on.”
Me (after recovering from the jaw-droppingly accurate explanation): Exactly. Team Ambience will be in charge of the floral arrangements, table setting, and garnishes for our picnic.
What followed was brilliant and beautiful. The boys created a spread of homemade cheese and crackers, strawberries, honey, and jam, all set out on a table in the midst of our hayfield within view of the cows who made the milk that was the base of our cheese. It took two days (in the case of the cheese) and forty minutes (in the case of the crackers and ambience) to pull together, and then it took three total minutes for them to eat the entirety of our creation, with exclamations and smiling faces abounding.
The verdict, given by our Parisian camper: “We got the taste of the cheese right, but the texture is off.” And then with a grin, he added, “But it’s good.” Given his expert status, I’ll take that.