Hands up who loves Cows ?

Me! Me! Me! Me!

I don’t often eat beef and rarely eat dairy.

I’m sorry I should qualify this statement shouldn’t I ?

You see I have a habit of looking at animals and thinking about what they would look like (post preparation!) on my plate. I don’t eat much meat at all, mainly vegetarian with some fish and the odd bacon butty thrown in for good measure. But looking at animals and wondering what they taste like is a habit that was developed early on in life and one that seems to have firmly stayed with me, regardless of what I eat.

You see it all started out on trips to North Wales to visit family, namely my grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. A traditional visit would be made in Spring, usually around Easter to take advantage of the Bank Holidays.

So let’s take a step back in time and imagine a pootling old car travelling along the old coast road in North Wales, after passing St Asaph, and onwards driving through small coastal towns, one side of the road we could catch glimpses of the sea, the other would invariably be small fields. And being North Wales the fields were full of sheep and their lambs.

I was taught very early on that shouting out of the window, (tut tut what kind of upbringing did this girl have I hear you ask?!) “Mint Sauce” was fun.  “Mint Sauce” we would cry in unison at the sight a baby lambs frolicking in the sunshine and green fields.

Harsh? Naughty? Maybe. But perhaps its the combined result of previous generations having been farmers in Wales; it wasn’t until my parent’s generation that farming was a way of living.

Or maybe it was simply a way to entertain bored kids sitting in the back of the car, stuck in traffic jams and asking “are we there yet?”.

Then again it was probably the thought of perfectly cooked roast lamb….

“Mint Sauce”!

“Mint Sauce”!

You see, in later life my grandfather was a butcher, so I grew up understanding what great meat tasted like and invariably lamb would be served at some point over the Easter weekend – slowly roasted, heaps of veggies (sadly boiled to a pitiful death), lashings of gravy….. Ah, happy days!

But let’s get back to more recent times and my holiday in Devon.

May I introduce you to my near neighbours?

My nearest neighbours were a herd of cows, a daily wave from my window as they munched their way across a field in the morning and again when they sauntered back late afternoon having spent the day loitering and mooing, as cows do.

Aren’t they cuties?  I have no idea what breed they are, I keep having to stop myself from saying what variety (stop thinking in terms of veggies Claire!). Maybe some bright spark like Miss Celi knows?

So all together now

“Horseradish”. “Horseradish”. “Horseradish” !!

Mind you we don’t just have to have horseradish with beef you know, it’s superb with homegrown beetroot – a recent discovery of beetroot soup with a dollop of horseradish – divine sweeties, simply divine!

Seeing as I was in Devon we could shout Clotted Cream ?!

Clotted Cream”. “Clotted Cream“.

But then again, maybe not at these guys…….  😉

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75 comments

  • What beautiful neighbors these cows are! I love the curly hair. I always think of cows as ponderers…they seem thoughtfully calm and intelligent to me. Thanks, Claire!

  • I’m a Super Fan of cows Claire. (not beef, but mooing ones.) if I had these curly browed neighbors I’d probably never get any work done, but lucky lucky you! And thank you for sharing them!

  • I once knew someone whose parents had a farm in Somerset. They had cows and when we visited we needed to bring them in one evening, which is when I realised that cows personalities. Some were shy, others were sly, some naughty, some haughty……. 🙂

    • The more I read or hear about them the more I realise that they are real characters! and what a lovely visit you must have had in Sommerset – a beautiful part fthe country

  • Wonderful photos, they really is and I love the close ups – not a beef lover, but I love lamb – but on the other hand have we eaten our cattle, pigs, hens and chicken so long as they have been around. So long as they have a good life while they live, am I pleased. My hands are up – I love cows, they have the most amazing faces and the longest eyelashes. Once again .. I love your photos.

    • totally with you – as long as they have a good life and a quick death….
      These guys didn’t seem to have very long eyelashes, but they were so cute 🙂

      • I thought all cows has long eye lashes .. or maybe it’s only cows in Scotland. They are very cute on your photos.

  • I’m seeing plenty of cows on our trip to Germany and Austria…all wearing beautiful cow bells. Seeing how they are all milk cows, I’ll think Clotted Cream from now on.

    • Hi Karen, you know I was thinking about you this morning and wondering where you were on your travels 🙂
      Aahhh the sound of cow bells, such a distinctive sound, and takes me back (as you can imagine) to summer in the Alps, happy days !

  • I think that they are that grey thingymee breed, you know, the ones with the cute little fringes and curly hair.. yeah them. you remember that old fella around the corner from whatsit, yeah, his brothers got some.. c

  • Great photo of the cow’s nose! I’d almost forgotten about that old coast road in North Wales – the hours spent in traffic jams when I was little!

    • You too!! I got a surprise when we drove there last year and I had no real idea of where we were, all the old landmarks had gone since they changed the road, mind you it was a long time ago now. But sshhhhh let’s pretend it was only a couple of years ago 🙂

  • This brings on several thoughts. First, my boys would have loved shouting mint sauce at lambs, though they didn’t grow up eating mint sauce. Second, it seems that people from farms are generally less sentimental about animals than city people.

    Finally – beetroot soup? Are you talking about borscht? If so, there are so many excellent recipes to explore! Oh, and have you tried it with a nice big dollop of sour cream?

    Enjoy the rest of your Devon holiday.

    • It was just a basic beetroot soup – a few onions and a bit of garlic fried up, left over roasted beetroot added with a sprinkle of thyme leaves and then some veggie stock and whizzed up. simple and tasty – and what a great colour !! I liked the horseradish as it added a touch of heat, but sour cream sounds good too 🙂 I’m thinking cumin would work well in the soup – I love it’s flavour, it’s gentle warmth.

  • You are feeling feisty today! Not long ago, I wrote about the belted galloways that I pass time and time again. They are beef cattle, but seeing how cute they are, there’s no way I could eat meat from one of those cows, not knowingly anyway.

    • You know Linda, I had the title of the post in my head the instant I downloaded the photos, and yesterday I finally got round to sorting them, and honestly had no idea what I was going to write about. An hour later the post was written…. I had just got back from a great session on the allotment – autumnal sunshine did me the world of good !

    • 🙂 I rarely cook meat mostly because I’m fussy about it – where it’s come from but also it’s taste, oh and my partner is veggie. But seeing animals always make me think how I would cook them!! I can’t help it – I mean sweet bunnies, deer, pheasants……. What am I like, no don’t answer that Barbara 🙂

  • Beautiful photos, Claire. I think farm animals ARE beautiful. Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many fruits, vegetables and legumes to round out a perfectly healthy and exciting diet! I love horseradish so I’m all in for that beetroot soup! 🙂

    • The soup is great Debra, really versatile and as I’m the only one who likes beetroot it means more for me 🙂 Which is lucky as I still have some in the ground !! Hope you are having a super weekend

  • I actually agonise every spring seeing the cows with their calves for a few hours before they are taken away, the boys to the abbattoir or the works as they’re known here, and the girls to be hand fed, and then reared to go through the same cycle as their mothers. To hear cows bellowing for their babies is not something easily forgettable… so no meat for me… but still a bit of guilty dairy….

    • The provisio of meat for a tables can be a harsh system can’t it Valerie. I guess we make decisions based on what we are comfortable with. I mostly eat veggies because my partner is a vegetarian, and besides I’m fussy about my meat !

  • If I lived on a farm, I would be 100 percent vegan. Cows are just too cute. I have a hard time filleting a swimming fish from the wet markets in Aberdeen. My husband comes home sometimes and we have a sink full of swimming fish and are just eating rice and veggies because I just did not have the heart to steam them and now we have 2 new pets. Take care, BAM

    • That’s too funny about the unplanned pets BAM !
      Mind you when I first read your comment and the word Aberdeen jumped out at me, there was I wondering what on earth you were doing in Aberdeen, Scotland and then it twigged – I presume its a market in HK !!

  • I adore your pics, I wouldn’t be able to eat meat either, sadly we are removed. I don’t cook it at home (much, maybe 2x per year) but we eat it out.
    Canadian author Margaret Atwood wrote a book called the Edible Woman and I wasn’t able to eat chicken for a year! I love the eyes of your farmy peeps, I wouldn’t eat them at all!

    • Thank you Eva, I thought they made great subjects for a blog post – so beautiful. And to be honest I really hadn’t planned what I was going to write, it just sort of blurted out of me !

  • I think it is good to know where your food comes from and what it looks like before slaughter! Have a great day 🙂

    • Hi Tandy, me too, but so many people have lost the understanding of the connections between what is on our plates and the realities – whether it’s chips or a steak.

  • GORGEOUS shots Claire! Absolutely fabulous! One day, I will be able to take good photos like you. 🙂
    Sadly, I have to not think of what my meat looks like when it’s alive before I eat it – bit of a double standard I guess but I just ain’t strong enough!
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Mandy you are so kind thank you! And thank you for the encouragement. I’d like to find a course to go on as I really don’t understand that much about my camera – its capable of so much more thn I do with it!

  • I think there’s some confusion, Claire. As I recall, your “neighbors” were cows and, as such, will live long, happy lives on a farm, just like pigs, chickens, sheep, and the like. The meat we buy, be it beef, pork, poultry, lamb, et al, is born wrapped in cellophane and shipped to the grocer’s or butcher shop for our consumption. I hope that clears things up a bit. We’ll discuss seafood another time.

  • Cows are cool! So is your family tradition of shouting out the car windows. 🙂 I’ve always loved cows (yes, even with horseradish…) and your essay on bovines tickled me greatly. But when you mentioned Clotted Cream, I swooned. That is the ONE taste I will NEVER forget (had some when I visited the Devonshire countryside many years ago.) Thanks for a delightful post!

    • Aaahhh anothe rClotted Cream adict to add to the growing list 🙂 It is wonderful isn’t it, the real thing is just well so outrageously creamy and rich! And thanks for popping in, pleased you like my near neighbours 🙂

  • They are soooo adorable! I’ve never been up close and personal with a cow but would love to. It is my dream to have a farm some day and have a single cow just for dairy. She would be my pet. 🙂 I have gotten close with a group of horses and being near so much power in such a gentle form is pretty surreal. I’d love living near them…except I imagine there might be an upleasant odor in the air-lol. You’re cracking me up with the mint sauce, horseradish and clotted cream! Here in America, we’d shout “Heinz 57!” (a steak sauce) lol

    • What a wonderful dream to have! I think my dream is to have a HUGE garden, but I think I’d have to have a few ducks, they are such great characters 🙂
      These cows were sweeties, quite small, and yes quite nosy – as you can see from the photos !
      I know of Heinz 57, but here we use it in a different way – to us it means of many varieties and we use it to describe dogs who have say a bit of Collie, a bit of Jack Russel, a bit of this and a bit of that (real mixed parentage!) – we call them Heinz 57s 🙂

      • Too funny you use it that way because the origin of that use is actually from the Heinz 57 sauce, because it was the 57th recipe Heinz made to develop that sauce (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_57). We use it that way too and was going to tell you that but figured it would be too much information, only to find out that’s the way you already use it! haha P.S. I want a big garden to go with my cow. And I want a pig, but only as a pet. 🙂 I’ve heard they’re even smarter than dogs.

  • I do love cows, ever since I visited the farming commune where my uncle lived back in the early 80’s. (Though quite frankly I also have appalling memories of that visit; having your cornflakes served with freshly milked jersey milk, i.e. body temperature and full-fat beyond belief, is NOT a nice start to the day…)

    On Saturday The Flâneur Husband and I went to a double 40th birthday, and at one point my husband got a bit fed up with the eternal questions about which of the birthday boys we knew, so he suggested asking people about their favourite breed of dairy cows… He shouldn’t really have been as surprised as he was when I turned out to have rather a lot of opinions on the matter! Jersey cows are the cutest, obviously, and produce the most flavoursome milk, but I have to be a staunch supporter of the Danish heirloom breeds, RDM and SDM (Red-and-white Danish Milk breed and Black-and-white (“sortbroget” in Danish) Danish Milk breed, two breeds that produce less fatty milk than the Jerseys but in larger quantities.

    Of course, had he asked for my favourite meat cattle I would have had equally informed opinions; Charolais and Limousin are some of the best meat breeds, I find, though one shouldn’t say no to a plate of Angus steak, either…

    • Hi there and great to see you !!
      The story of the party made me giggle, me and an old mate used to position ourselves at parties so we could stop and ask people what their favourite fish was, and then if they said something like Halibut (and hadn’t run away!) we’d ask them how many words could they make out of the word Halibut 🙂 I hate those standard party questions – I’m crap at them – maybe that should read Carp….. !!
      and hey aren’t you a source of knowledge on our friends the cow !! I’m impressed

      • I might have grown up in a suburb, but my grandparents on both sides were farmers, so I learned to drive a tractor around the age of 10 – and was driving a combine harvester by the time I was 14… (Go me and my butch credentialts!)

        Halibut:
        Halt, but, bit, bait, hail, haul, bail, it, at, ta, tail, ha, ah, hi, hait, hilt, built… I think that’s all I can think of. (Yes, I like to play Scrabble…)

  • I love cows and lambs. I love them in the pasture, but admittedly on my plate too. Cow is served with horseradish sauce, but lamb must be slow roasted Greek style with rosemary, garlic, Kosher salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon zest! ~Lynda

    • Greek style lamb sounds amazing! Celi is just making a lamb curry, a total favourite of mine, but lamb stew, slow cooked……. You do realise Lynda I’ve just eaten my dinner but could find room for your dish 🙂 Little piggie that I am !

  • They really are cute. I deal with my meat fussiness by buying from the same couple of farmers every year, believing that good raising = better meat (and better for the environment and a better life for the animals)

  • Lovely blog you’ve got here, aren’t allotments an amazing thing? I had one in London and then I became a gardener! I too really really love cows. So much so that I bought some. And named myself after them. How’s that for love? 🙂 But do they love me? Very debateable, judging by the way they run away from me…but I’m working on it, I think they were a bit roughly treated before they came – and today I was stroking Lucy while she was eating hay. Of course this doesn’t mean to say I won’t eat beef…our little herd will eventually make some and it will be delicious (I hope) and good to know they had a good and loving life.

    • Now that is love 🙂 It sounds like an amzing thing you are doing, and I’m sure it will take time to work out the finer art of cows – these guys were fairly curious, but I was pretty quiet and gentle with them, I know what you mean about them running away and being skittish ! great to “meet” you and thanks for popping in 🙂

      • I’ve made a breakthrough with Lucy and she doesn’t mind being scratched now…though it’s definitely more a toleration than an enthusiastic response! Apparently the best way to do it is to get them in a stall or stable and then start stroking their ‘sweet spot’ (on the withers) and talking in a low voice then slowly move down the back. Have to say this whole idea seems an impossible dream at the moment…one step at a time though 🙂

        • I can’t help but think of the theatre/film addage – never work with animals or children 🙂 But having said that I’m sure your efforts are being rewarded (and on all sorts of levels)

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