Tuesday, November 22

The Scary Side of Cheese



I have this picture of my Grandfather standing in the driveway of his first home after he got back from the War and married my Grandma. He is holding onto a small cow, which I can only assume is the offspring of a milk cow they must have kept.

For that is where milk came from in 'the old days.' Walking five miles, up hill to school every day, chores until darkness fell, homework by oil lamp light and milk straight from the cow.

Milk. From the cow. And most likely cheese, butter, cream, etc.

So why is it that I am convinced that unless I get the gallon jug and the butter to spread on my toast at the grocery store, I will be poisoned and die a slow death from unprocessed dairy products?

This article in the previous issue of Mother Earth News really helped me to understand what has happened to milk, and why people today think that the gallon jug is so much better for you than a trip to the barn with a bucket.

Public opinion has been greatly influenced by several pasteurization campaigns, Homogenization and public health re-education campaigns have convinced people that fat, sour, whole milk is bad. And as I was reading the article, I was still holding strong to my ideas of what milk was. Milk is of the skim variety that comes in the gallon jug from the cooler at the store. The idea of drinking whole, thick milk strikes me as foreign and yucky. I picture a thick coffee-creamer substance with little lumps floating around in it, and maybe some little pieces of straw from the barn floor got in there too.

The article, more than convincing me to run out and buy a calf, made me think about how I actually think about milk. Making butter has been something in the back of my mind for a while now. Lets face it, if the Mayans are right, I would still want butter on my morning toast. But I would not want to suffer massive stomach pains and possibly die from poisoning if I didn't make the butter the right way. And that is the heart of the problem - being afraid to make butter, or cheese, or to drink milk from the cow because of what we have believed.

So i am taking the first steps in home dairy education - by trying to change my previously held beliefs about what milk is and that, if done properly, butter and cheese can be made at home without fear of an early grave.


The Astonishing Story of Real Milk

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