Got milk? No, not the anemic watery stuff that supermarkets push in great quantities. I mean the kind that’s rich and creamy and tastes like it might actually nourish you. The kind that makes you want to sit down and savor a glassful. Without an Oreo.
Of course, it’s hard to find the real deal in a city, but years ago I came across some, quite by accident, while I was on assignment in Mexico City.
I had to do an interview in Nezahualcóyotl, a hardscrabble neighborhood on the far fringes of the vast urban sprawl. Before we got started, my host offered me a drink—fresh milk, unpasteurized, unrefrigerated, delivered that morning by horse cart from a nearby farm. It was sitting in a big metal kettle on her kitchen counter, and she ladled it into a glass for me. It was stupendous. It made me think of sweet alfalfa, and warm breezes blowing through green pastures, and healthy cows grazing contentedly.
And it made me wonder what ails the U.S. dairy industry that causes it to deprive consumers of that pleasure. Farmers at the dawn of human history must have rejoiced in the milk they got from their flocks. It was healthy food, and it tasted good. Today, we pair a chemical cocktail with cookies or chocolate or cereal—sweet disguises that help us choke down what we believe to be liquid protein.
What to do?
I suppose heath food stores have milk that’s closer to the cow. But their mostly gaggy granola/tofu/simulated-turkey approach to the sensual world of cuisine has always put me off. I’ve been afraid I’d get milk that tasted of cow poo. As in, Holy crap! This stuff is stuff is funkyyy.
Just recently, though, my husband heard about Natural by Nature, available at our local Whole Foods store. It’s organic milk, produced by presumably happy cows somewhere in Pennsylvania. They’re not pumped full of hormones or antibiotics. They eat grass that’s grown without pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. And they live on farms that are family owned and operated. That makes all the difference. The milk is scrumptious.
And now, I’ve made myself hungry, so I think I’ll go have a glass. All by itself.