Monday, May 28, 2007

A Glass of Awakening

The other night, Lori presented John and me with glasses of cold raw milk from Green Hills Farm in Quarryville, PA. I hadn't tasted raw milk since a kindergarten field trip to a dairy when I was oh, 5 or so. It was incredible. Think about this: we grow up drinking pasteurized milk, and because we drink it from a very early age, we get imprinted with that particular flavor. We know, deep in our bones, what milk tastes like. It's this, this stuff I brought home from Whole Foods yesterday in a bottle. Not only has it been pasteurized, its butterfat content has been reduced to 2%. This is what I always buy; this is milk to me. But I'm wrong! We're all wrong. Real milk as it come out of the cow is something completely different from what most of us have grown up with. To compare the two is to compare apples to oysters, or ginger ale to gin.

Of course, what with factory farming and BSE and other horrors of Big Food, pasteurization is a necessary evil, and it's likely to remain so unless the dairy industry as a whole adopts more traditional, pasture-based, feeding-the-cows-what-they're-supposed-to-eat kinds of practices. It just sucks that it has to be this way. If we have to process a natural product to make it less toxic and plague-ridden, and if that processing not only affects the nutritional benefits of the product but actually makes it taste worse, shouldn't we reevaluate how the product is produced? And don't even get me started on cheese.

That glass of milk was as succinct and convincing an argument for buying local and knowing where your food comes from as any I've heard. This is something I really need to be more serious about. He said, between bites of his breakfast of cold leftover pork fried rice from Tian Jin Palace.

For dessert that night, there was John's thoroughly amazing chocolate strawberry shortcake, with strawberries from John's garden and slatherings of raw cream.

(Further reading: A Campaign for Real Milk)

10 comments:

T said...

Timely...we watched Fast Food Nation last night...for once, I'm thankful for all my meat allergies! But raw milk must be wonderful....

Rob said...

I haven't seen that yet. The book was plenty horrifying.

Mike said...

www.southmountaincreamery.com

Rob said...

Well, their stuff looks great, but since they're in Maryland, it's all pasteurized. Our laws are pretty draconian: according to the ACRM site, not only is the sale of raw milk in Maryland illegal, but regulations as of Winter 2006 define cow-share agreements as constituting a "sale" of raw milk, and therefore they're illegal too. There's some legal action afoot that may change that, but for now, getting hold of the good raw stuff means a trip to Virginia or Pennsylvania.

Mike said...

Or buying a cow and not sharing it.

hsempl said...

who are lori and john and how can i meet them?

Rob said...

Come to our session at Ri Ra! John is the bald, non-African-American flute player who isn't me, and Lori is the female flute player who isn't German.

Ed Bruske said...

You must tell everyone to read "The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside American's Underground Food Movements," by Sandor Ellix Katz.

All is revealed...

Rob said...

You heard the man, everybody. That's a book I need to get into.

An Briosca Mor said...

Another identification clue: Until the CSA season is over, Lori will be the one entering RiRa on Wednesday night with a bag full of vegetables, and I will be the one leaving several hours later with a bag full of vegetables.

Now, to steal a line from Bart Simpson, I'm John. Who the hell are you?