Sunday, September 6, 2009

I don't like milk.

I haven't liked milk for a long time. As long as I can remember, actually. I would drink chocolate or strawberry milk (sick!) as a kid but it always made me want to gag and I couldn't do plain white milk ever. Milk and cookies, milk and chocolate cake, milk with anything. I don't like it. I think it's gross. The smell. The texture. The idea of it.

I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (more about that in a later post and how it has partly changed and partly affirmed my food perspective dramatically and also more about how it might make me not always 100% vegetarian). Anyway, this book is fascinating. And smart. And seriously well-written.

And it explains, in logical and no-nonsense terms, why I don't like milk.

Because, guess what? I have weaned myself to solid foods.

That's right, folks. I don't need to nurse. From a cow. I'm actually totally good with getting my nutritional needs filled elsewhere than from an animal's boob. Thanksverymuch.

Seriously though I feel totally vindicated.

This comes from a couple of passages in Kingsolver's book dedicated to the "strange" issue of adults who are lactose intolerant. She explains that such intolerance is actually a natural development for creatures who were intended by nature to be wholly weaned at some point in their lives (typically by the age of four, at least) onto solid food: "in other words, a gradual cessation of milk digestion is normal" (137).

She goes on to say that human beings are a weird species and that due to our intimate relationships with domestic animals, some have a particular genetic mutation that allows them to keep their lactose-digesting enzymes as adults: "The gene rapidly increased in herding populations because of the unique advantage it conferred, allowing them to breast-feed for life from another species" (137).

When you put it that way, I don't think my distaste for milk is abnormal. In fact, I will probably point out to my husband that his craving for cookies and milk is downright pervy.

My love for cheese, though? Well that's another story. Although Kingsolver is seriously tempting me--the very person who needs lots of strucure in the kitchen and who used to prefer to eat popcorn for dinner rather than mess with cooking a meal just for myself--to try making my own cheese.

(I would like take this moment to vow on the internet in front of whatever witnesses might be reading this, that no matter what kind of food-hippy I turn into, I will not stop shaving my armpits.)

Our CSA is still providing generously and after this weekend we will be carting home buckets of tomatoes and peppers from my dad's garden and David's grandpa's garden. Food is on my mind (and in my belly) in a big way. I will be the first to admit how surprised I was to discover that I love squash. Delicious summer squash. And acorn squash. Chopped into bite-sized pieces, dumped in a bowl with olive oil and garlic, then spread on a pan and roasted in the toaster oven. With rice, with pasta, or by itself.

Our CSA veggies have more flavor than anything I've bought at the grocery store. Next year we are dedicating a section of our yard (and I can only imagine how many hours of our lives) to a garden. (I knew there was a reason we started composting last spring). I've been enjoying the delicious of these veggies all along, but Kingsolver's book is giving me a new perspective on why local organic farming matters so much and why I want to be a part of it (at least on the consumer end).

And it's also nice to know that I'm naturally not supposed to like milk anymore. Because drinking from a cow's boob is gross, dude.


  1. I read Kingsolver's book a couple of years ago too and it totally got me thinking about DIY food. I'd already considered how bad it is to eat as much transported and fake food as we do after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, but she made it seem so doable. Making cheese is super easy, especially if you're just doing something soft. I really want to take a class and have a contact for a lady who teaches cheese making classes a few times each month, but have been a little afraid to go alone. If you want to join me, that would be fantastic! You should also try some of Kingsolver's fiction if you haven't. It's nothing too earth shattering, but she challenges some interesting religious ideals in most of her stuff. I'll probably send you an email in the next couple of days about church stuff, but let's make cheese!!

  2. brooke--OK, yes, let's make cheese! It would be fun to take a class... I could live on tomato and mozzarella sandwiches (and sort of have been living on them the last few weeks) so I wonder if it would really be possible to make my own mozzarella... I've read some of Kingsolver's fiction--I really liked The Poisonwood Bible when I read it several years ago and it is one that I would like to take time to go back and read again.

    (for those of you who are not Brooke, I am not having a conversation with myself, but with a like-minded and like-monikered friend whose culinary talents I envy.)

  3. Oreos and milk, yummy! Nothing better unless it's milk and fig newtons!