awe, humility, hope and a few other things I might notice

A loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter

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My husband just brought home a 25kg box of butter. That’s over 50 lbs for us non-metric folks. It is a case of butter, not a box. It is not packaged and separated, just the full on plastic bag wrapped block; large, square, yellow and too big for any shelf in our kitchen.

I asked him to pick up a few basics, something like a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter from the discount store in Ontario on his way back from a long trip. Quebec dairy prices are more outrageous than the gas prices and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. He returned home sans milk, sans anything except the incredibly heavy brown box and his explanation that the store was closing but that he got a great deal on a case of butter. I don’t know what sudden fog overcame him or what dazzling light led him to the case of butter, but surely it was some trickster.

I am bemused.

We are only two people in our family and the cats don’t eat butter.

We have no friends in the area.

We have a small apartment and an adequate fridge, but 50lbs of butter, I think it will fit best in the bathtub.

Hmm, bathing in ghee, now that’s an idea. I’m sure it’s on some list of ayurvedic treatments, sure to improve my complexion and would be a nice tonic for the drying effects of the coming winter.

Back to the facts of the matter. The amusing irony is that I have recently been thinking about leaning my strict lacto-vegetarianism towards veganism.

I have shared these thoughts with my husband.

Out loud.

I have also recently turned the corner on my newest exercise routine from feeling like death to a modest feeling that I can finish my short jog without collapsing from my physical or psychological lameness.

I have also been watching a few documentaries (Vegucate and Forks Over Knives) that make me feel like despite all my good and healthy habits I’m destined for an early or prolonged suffering death from heart disease and diabetes. The prolonged suffering is the more compelling deterrent, especially after a lifetime of trying to survive my own exercise restarts.

It needs restating here because there is a small amount of shock involved, that yesterday my husband brought home more than 50 lbs of butter. If I were in the habit of drawing stick figures to represent my emotions, today’s figures would be considerably thicker and less stick like, especially around the middle and likely slumped over their large soft bellies.

So now we are in the slow process of making ghee. This was hubby’s stated objective in buying a case of butter at wholesale price. It’s chilly outside and the windows are closed. The smell of melted butter is seeping into our clothes and adhering to the inside of my nasal passages. The cat just started licking my husband’s shirt. I said the cats don’t eat butter, but the salt must be the attraction. I think my glasses are steaming up with minute globules of fat. I fear the aromas are having a soporific effect. We are going down the rabbit hole into a Willy Wonky Butter Factory.

Waking from my slumber, it occurs to me, but certainly has not yet occurred to my husband, that we need to put this ghee in something. All the large containers in any normal household would not be enough to hold this much ghee unless we consider sanitizing the cooler. Now I’m back to ideas of bathing in ghee again. A kind of autumnal baptism.

Maybe we will give the ghee away to friends for Canadian Thanksgiving, and U.S. Thanksgiving, and winter solstice, and New Years and maybe Easter… We can try to confiscate those charming blue and yellow metal tins of butter cookies, you know the ones that almost never ever have butter cookies in them, from yard sales and people’s top shelves and the deeps of their already full pantry closets. We’ll line them with saran wrap (because sanitizing those tins is nearly impossible) and fill them with golden ghee. A perfect gift. It will avoid all the hasty purchases of chocolate or flowers, and no need for bags that cost as much as the gift, or ribbons or tissue paper. The savings are mounting.

Yet I don’t think my husband had gifts in mind when he purchased the equivalent of a small child of butter. Maybe he wanted to contribute an adornment for the ice sculptures that are so popular at winter festivals up here. We may be processing the ghee until December, so that will be just in time.

Time lapse writing…We have finished cooking our first batch, in our one large pot on our one large burner. The case looks untouched, hacked at with our one large strong knife (excepting the cleaver which just didn’t seem appropriate for the task) still sticking out from the center. The cube of sunshine is barely wounded, only flaking a little at the top, like me, my exercise routine and my thoughts of veganizing.

I think I need to teach my husband the little ditty;

“a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a STICK of butter”.


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