Tuesday, March 02, 2010

stakanchik kefira

ever since my grand-father's spirit (after leaving my grand-father's body and floating around for a while as a recently freed spirit will do) has, in accordance with a long-term mutual agreement, taken up permanent residence in my kitchen, things have become very interesting.

for one thing, we have acquired kefir.

(Kefir, according to wikipedia: purportedly from either the Turkish "keyif" (joy/pleasure) or "köpür" ((milk) froth, foam) or from the Persian "kef" (foam) and "shir" (milk), is a fermented milk drink that originated with shepherds of the Caucasus region, who discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into an effervescent beverage. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep's milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed).

Of course, by 'acquired' i don't mean 'bought in the store'. Even though it is actually sold at the organic supermarket, no further than 100 meters from our house, the fact that it can be made at home, at much less cost and with better control over the ingredients, not to mention the kitchen-magic aspect, had my local ghost wagging his tail. And since it is not my habit to ignore tail-wagging ghosts, i made the required online purchase, cleared some space on the concoction shelf, sighed deeply, and off we went on our kefir adventure.

Now in the humble opinion of my grand-father, kefir was/is the universal panacea. Whereas in my (admitedly limited) experience, it comes a lot closer to being an extremely demanding pet...

You know how it is, some people have rabbits, hamsters, gold-fish...

Me, i have my caucasian bacteria.

And seriously, how many hamsters do you know who need to be washed thoroughly, in a neither plastic nor metal sieve, and using only filtered water, every single morning at 8:30, and not much later than that, because otherwise they die? How many gold-fish need to be at all times in a glass bowl allowing for full breathing possibilities, at a temperature anywhere between 23 and 24 degrees centigrade, in complete darkness, and yet be gently and persistently stirred with great regularity? How many rabbits do you know who will only drink raw, organic, room-temperature milk that is neither too fresh nor too old? I mean, what if we want to leave town for a few days? Since clearly, there is no way the little beasties would survive any kind of travelling, i will just have to find someone to house-sit my kefir.

The other thing is, you don't get that much back for your effort. For one thing, kefir is not cuddly, the way rabbits are, it is not pretty like some gold-fish, and it certainly doesn't have the big brown eyes that make relations between people and hamsters bearable. In fact, i find that it's pretty hard to bond with bacteria clutters... (of course, if i had spent the money my mother gave me for a microscope on an actual microscope instead of on groceries, i might have had a shot at it, but then again, even that might not have helped much). Yes, you will say to me, but you do get kefir, that most amazing of health-sustaining substances... Which is true, except that so far, the amount of kefir produced has been barely enough to fill three tablespoons every morning, a fact which is alone responsible for my children's deep-seated belief in kefir's supernatural powers. After all, anything that requires that much magic and is served by the scarce spoonful, must be potent stuff.

And that in turn, makes both me and my grand-father smile. Stakanchik kefira, ded?

1 comment:

Josh said...

Ha Véronique, ben sinds mijn antibiotica ook met kefir bezig, tegen de bijwerkingen. Ik heb ook waterkefir, kan je een soort priklimonade (gemberbier mee maken).
Ik ben wel wat strenger voor mijn beestjes dan jij toch doen ze het...