Last night I made myself some toast. I was hungry and it was almost 11pm. As I was putting the butter on my Alvarado Street Bakery, sprouted sourdough bread, I started thinking about my odd relationship with all things dairy. So here goes....
I grew up in the Midwest. Farmlands all around me. I distinctly remember the milkman delivering 2 glass bottles of milk to our front porch, every few days. I remember how that milk tasted.
Like. it. was. yesterday.
My mother's parents lived in Wisconsin. The Original Dairy-land. My grandfather even drove a milk truck. Not to deliver door to door. The big semi-truck with the stainless steel cylindrical trailer behind it. I used to go with him. We would go to farms and pump that truck full of milk. I am not sure where we took it. I must have been asleep during the drop off?
My grandmother was a round woman. She always had some fresh fruit covered in cream. Real cream. Thick, sweet, pure, white cream. Delicious!
And butter. Freshly churned, blocks of butter. On freshly picked corn on the cob. I mean really. Can you taste that right this second?
Well back to my home. At some point, and I don't know exactly when. Perhaps after Shani was born and there were 4 kids to feed, we stopped with the home milk delivery. The transition was unnoticeable except when it came to breakfast. We went from home delivery of WHOLE milk to homemade, powdered milk. Now, if you know my father, you know how much he adores powdered milk. He speaks more lovingly about powdered milk than he ever did about his 4 daughters. My recollection, however, is much grimmer. Powdered milk, in a house that seemed to hover around the poverty line, is glorified grey water. GAG. ME. No spoon required.
The chunks in the bottom of the Tupperware milk container could gag me in a flash. I swore off milk at the age of 10. Although I did buy a carton of chocolate milk every day in HS, to swallow my 20 pills for my RA.
Once we moved to Arizona. My mother continued with her cry me poor ways and purchased 1% milk from the grocery. Yuck to the power of yuck!
As an adult, I always purchased whole milk and real, unsalted, butter. I insisted upon it. I do not drink milk. I do not dip cookies into it. I will, on occasion, have a bowl of cereal though. My girls know nothing else. I once babysat for my friend's son and made him a baked potato. He sat down to eat it and said, "Dani, this tastes so weird. What is on it?" Just butter, I said. He refused to eat it. Turns out his family used margarine and he had never had butter. It was too rich for him. My niece and nephew call my milk "ice cream" milk.
I am unwavering on my dairy product choices. My girls are not fat. They consume milk almost daily. Usually on cereal or in oatmeal. Sometimes with cookies. We have never served them a glass of milk with dinner though. I cook and bake with real butter. I have never purchased margarine.
The fake dairy products make me feel poor. It is a message from my childhood that I can actually dispel, so I do.
Nothing melts like REAL butter. Nothing covers strawberries like real cream. Nothing takes to chocolate syrup like whole milk. Oatmeal, made with whole milk is positively dessert like. Yep. Unwavering.
Food imprinting can be so important. It can make associations that are so subtle and also so powerful. My baby sister is diabetic. She is a grown woman with a family. She likes and uses powdered milk. She adjusts the concentration of water to powder and says it is actually quite creamy and yummy. I will take her word for it.
Because of my dairy abuse, I am pretty sure I could never drink a glass of milk without gagging. Even though I know it is not going to have chunks in it, that imprint is tattooed in me.
I read so much about switching our children to soy milk or rice milk or almond milk. I have tried all of these. Too close to grey water for me. The change would be reversely dramatic for my whole milk goddesses, I fear. Not that I am willing to check my hypothesis. I am not.
So whole milk will remain as our milk of choice. Sticks of real, sweet cream, unsalted, butter will be slathered on my bread, toasted or not, and my strawberries will swim in a pool of cream. If you send your kids my way for a sleepover, they will eat several bowls of cereal. They won't know why they love it so much, but I will know. And now, so will you.
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