Thursday, January 06, 2005

Vacation Kefir

We are visiting my inlaws, and have been here for 2 weeks now. All told I'm away from work for 3 weeks this time; the longest since I started at Microsoft 8 1/2 years ago. But I haven't been completely disconnected, instead spending a lot of time on the laptop playing with C#.

This week the weather was great, and we've spent a lot of time outdoors (and barefoot!). I'll miss that when we return to Seattle.

My mother-in-law makes a drink called Kefir. Humans have been drinking it for 12,000 years, so there's a lot of variation on how it is prepared & consumed across various cultures (pun!). She makes it by simply putting Kefir "grains" in to a jar of raw milk, and letting it sit on the counter for 24 hours. She then strains it & it's ready to drink. They mix some sweetener in, but I've been enjoying mine plain. It's slightly tart, and slighly effervescent.

One of the interesting things about Kefir to me is that it represents an about-face in my relationship with microorganisms. The conventional wisdom is to strike them out - wash hands, disinfect utensils, pasteurize, refrigerate, etc. With Kefir, you instead cultivate more microorganisms, the kind you like, and they overpower the bad kind. Consider: the "grains" are used continiously for months, never referigerated, and constantly immersed in raw milk. It never goes bad!

If you see someone with a cold, do you think "stay away, I don't want to get sick"? Or do you think "I am taking good care of my body, so I know I'm not likely to get sick". I'd like the latter.

I've also been reading about other related brewed/fermented concoctions, like traditional salsa or saurkraut. It looks like every culture has a history of using these with meals. It preserves food without refridgeration, predigests so you can more easily absorb nutrients, and adds more nutrients to what you eat. Good deal.

Could I live in 2004 without refridgeration in my home?

If I sail around the world, not having a fridge or icebox (or just having a very small one) would sure make things simpler.

Must keep exploring...

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