The other farms that Sylvie Favat had pointed me to yielded similar evidence of a continuity between the present and the past. At the Ferme Bruel, in the Cantalian village of St-Illide, I tasted deliciously fatty, slow-cured pork sausage that had been salted and air-dried according to methods that had changed little in a hundred years. At the Ferme Lacombe, nearby, hog and cattle farmers Jean-Paul and Michele Lacombe told me about la mangoune, the annual midwinter slaughter of pigs, a ritual still observed in the Auvergne, during which entire farm families engage in the business of butchering and preserving the meat from their hogs. And at the Ferme de la Roquette, just outside Salers, I was audience to a soliloquy on the nobility and hardiness of the ancient breed of beef cattle that shares that town's (and the cheese's) name. "Salers cattle were born to survive on these steep, pebbly slopes," said Marie-Helene Roquette, a striking, wiry woman in thick coveralls, as she introduced me to a few of her cows, gorgeous animals with russet-colored coats. "Normandie and Charolais cows are a disaster here. This is a beautiful region but a difficult land."