Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

travel updat from moulin de chaves in cubjac france

Greetings from Moulin de chaves,
I am In a small budhist retreat center, in a small village called Cubjac in the Dordogne region of southwest France. the nearest city you are likely to find on a map is Perigeux (pronounced perry-goo). I am about 17km or 11 USA miles from perigeux. Perigeux is famous for some food stuff. Foi Gras, Truffles, walnuts and walnut oil. cubjac is not really famous for anything. When I say a small village well, there is no traffic light, no stop sign, no movie theater. There is one boulanger (bakery) one pharmacy, one small cash and carry (like a seven eleven) a tabaco shop/newstand/cafe, a bar, a butcher shop specializing in horse meat, beef and poultry, and a church. Oh and now a pizzeria has opened, with seating for 12. I havent been in it yet,but I hear good things...
I spend my time, meditating, walking in the oak forests that abound here, swimming in the river that runs through le moulin, and reading. I cook in the retreats kitchen about 30 hours per week and I have to go to a couple of meetings per week too. I like all of it except I dont really like the meetings too much. I am not a meeting person. Everyone likes the food I make.
I meditate more than usual here, I mean for me of course. I sit twice per day with the group in group meditation sessions that last about 45 minutes each session. I sit by myself everyday for another 30 minutes. it is a meditation center after all, and that is what I have come here for. I am working on cooking consciously, so I chant "Namo Amitaba Amituofo" most of the time I am in the kitchen. After a while, it sort of takes me to a strange inner place. I recommend that all of you try it and then write back and let me know what you think. I am wondering if it is "just me" or if there really is something to it...
I take the "family dog" a handsome young fellow (golden labradore about 3 years old), named Bilbo, for walks in the forest. There are easily marked and cleared trails. We pass lots of flowers and almost never see anyone out there. Lots of birds and of course all kinds of trees and bushes. The bad part about walking with a dog is that you dont see too many animals. He scares them all off. The good part is...well, gosh, he is just so darned enthusiastic!! He absolutely loves being out there and he is almost overwhelmed with doggie joy! it is contagious and so he makes a great walking companion. He bounds off into the underbrush and disappears over and over again and comes when I whistle for him. I love to walk a dog.
Outside my window yesterday I saw an absolutely beautiful wood pecker. I dont know the name of this type of wood pecking bird, but wow! He had great face markings and a bealutiful profile. under his wing was a blue feather with back checks on it. just beautiful. There is also a grey herron who hangs out on the weir in the river. He stands and holds perfectly still. (He must be meditating) He is on a steep slope in the weir and it is fast running water and it must be slippery, but none of these facts phase him in the least. It must be great to be a bird...
It is fun when I am in the kitchen. I always loved cooking and I still do. today, I made a 4 layer polenta cake. Polenta on the bottom, with a little fresh grated parmesan cheese, topped with cooked zuchini aond onions in a little tomato sauce, Then another layer of polenta topped off with a pesto bechemel sauce with emmenthaler cheese and baked. kind of a vegetarian polenta lasagna. Also buttered turnips with their greens (from our garden) and mushrooms with tarragon. And some steamed mixed veggies (brocoli, cauliflour, fennel, celery and green beans with dill and lemon). I also served a magnificent green salad, with all kinds of "weeds" foraged by John our gardener from the grounds and 4 fresh lettuces from our gardens, garnished with beetroots, tomatoes, shredded purple cabbage and carrots, croutons,and some pumpkin sunflower and sesame seeds I roasted with soy sauce, with an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Fresh bagettes and home made
hummus and butter from Britagne. JThe foraged stuff from the grounds make the salad just magnificent. i am blown away by the tastes and textures. Unavailable anywhere at any price.
It is a little weird still to be working with other people in the kitchen with me. They are all amatuers. i am not accustomed to this and they are not accustomed to working with a "real chef" I live by a lot of hard and fast kitchen rules and they dont (as they say)even have a clue!!
I am lightening up a little and they are tightening up a little so it is working out well. I am learning a little and teaching a lot about food, cooking and kitchen management. I learned how to make seitan (fake meat from gluten) it is very good and i really like it.
I am a little amazed that i like it but the truth is I do!! I used to make faces when vegetarians ate fake meat. I thought,"Well, if you are avegetarian, you should eat vegetables and not feel sorry that you arent eating meat" But this stuff tastes good ( a little bland like bread), and has a very nice texture. I guess I am not too old to learn something new after all!
That is all for now. I will write again soon
Peace and love to all of you,
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?" Jean-Jacques Rousseau
"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Stephen Hawking


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