Lady Blerghese and the Milk Floats

There it was, summer of 1987, I was 14 years old and drinking a glass of milk. As I was drinking it I thought, “you know what? This is NOT a tasty beverage. It does not taste good, I do not want to drink it.” and mostly I stopped drinking milk.
I’m not a picky eater at all, I will try most things. I’ve eaten jellyfish, chicken feet, tripe in both chinese and mexican preparations, tongue, fish maw, bubble tea, though I have not been able to bring myself to eat fish eye when it’s been offered (sorry fish eye). Of course there are the things I despise and will not eat, mushrooms, olives, raw onions (and some cooked onions, I have onion problems). It makes me seem like a picky eater because these are things the majority of people like.
GAAAAAAAH! I hate mushrooms. Hate them. The texture, the flavor, all of it. Being forced to eat them, getting the occasional, completely disingenuous, “just try it, if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it,” which almost always devolved into, “there’s nothing wrong with mushrooms… blah blah kids in china. You ate them before!!” Yeah, I ate them before! You forced me to eat them, you ass. Pizza time was fraught with danger. If we were lucky we got just regular style meat covered pizza. If not, we got the supreme pizza with everything on it. I would take a bite and very carefully with my tongue, remove all the offending mushrooms, olives, onions and bell peppers and swallow them whole and then continue with the chewing. A tuna sandwich is completely ruined by chopped onions. The olive bar at the grocery has to be given wide berth because they smell so bad (David had never noticed the stink of the olive bar, but he is 14 inches taller and I think the heavy stench of olive does not waft that high).
Luckily, by the time I reached junior high and high school I was allowed more control over what I ate and I did not have to eat mushrooms or drink milk anymore.
I hate milk but I am cool with most other dairy products, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate milk. It’s not so much that I hate milk, but that I hate the flavor of milk. I don’t want that flavor in my mouth, it’s nasty. In the last few years, however, people have been suggesting that I try raw milk. They tell me the flavor is different. I am skeptical of such a statement. It is still milk in milk form with no added chocolate flavor or cheese culture. Skeptical.
We move to Vermont and we work on changing our relationship with food. Doing things like getting to know the pigs we might eat later, buying eggs and tomatoes from people’s front yards and supporting local agriculture. There’s a dairy up the road that sells raw milk. We decide to try it out. It’s $7 a gallon which means that we will have to prioritize the budget a bit. $7 milk means not buying Marshmallow Mateys anymore, I’m okay with that. We get our milk and bring it home and it is a delightful wonder to behold. Jersey cows mean higher butterfat content and the cream at the top is amazing. We mix it up and pour a little bit to try. I am still skeptical but open. It tastes like milk. That’s all, milk. The flavor in my mouth is the flavor of milk and it’s still as gross as it was 25 years ago.
But! BUT! All is not lost. I do use milk in my coffee, on my oatmeal and in other things. Even better, I have started making cheese and yogurt with the milk and it they are so painfully delicious. The cheese is a fromage blanc, described as a ‘cream cheese’ which is a bit of a disservice, it is nothing like the gummy Philly cheese. It’s got the texture of a good chevre, a bit crumbly but not too dry, and the flavor is amazing. Because the milk is not homogenized the cream still rises to the top while the cheese is setting up. You get this beautiful, thick layer of full fat cheese. In the quiet celebration of another perfect batch of cheese you stand in the kitchen and spread a bit on a piece of bread and savor it before you mix the layer back in with the rest of the batch.
And the cheese is so satisfying to eat. Mix in some oven dried tomatoes and roasted garlic, a bit of salt and pepper. Or add powdered sugar and vanilla and serve it with crepes and homemade clementine marmalade. It’s amazing on a pizza along with homemade italian sausage and no mushrooms.
The other day I made my first batch of yogurt. It’s a bit bland at first but it just sucks up the deliciousness of maple syrup and you could fall into a pit of sugar and high butterfat bliss.
My favorite, though, is accidentally not shaking the cream back in “well enough” and making hot chocolate. It’s like a heart attack in a mug. A delicious, delicious heart attack that does not taste like milk.

2 thoughts on “Lady Blerghese and the Milk Floats

  1. I grew up on “raw milk” not that we called it that. My grandparents had a bunch of cows and that is what we drank. They would send a couple gallons down every couple of weeks. We also drank “normal” milk. I hated, and still hate, both kinds. Milk isn’t a good taste.
    However, I also like (love?) milk products. I also just don’t like the milk flavor.

  2. I totally agree with you and Bertine that plain milk tastes bad, but somehow once it is fermented or churned or processed the nasty taste is gone. I also like to make the Dutch ‘vla’ (one egg with some corn starch and sugar and then stirr and add boiling milk (0,5-1 liter) and most importantly, a vanilla pod cooked with the milk.

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