March 18, 2006

yogurt




The only reason I am staying in India at this point is for the yogurt.

I have been eating about a half kilo each day and it’s surprisingly easy to do.
In the evenings, the milk is boiled, cooled, and cultures are mixed in. The warm concoction is poured into large clay bowls and overnight, a wonderful symbiosis between humans and the bacterial world is manifested.
Yogurt, or curd, as it’s commonly known as here has been used for a really long time, perhaps since the birth of the curry! There is little else that can balance-out and cool the fiery spices of South Asian cuisine. My digestive trail is particularly grateful for this side, especially in the swelter of the pre-monsoon heat.

Okay, the only other reason I am staying in India is for the hot milk in the evening time. Because the milk is raw and fresh from that morning’s milking, it tastes different than what’s readily available from the stores in America. Consider the difference between a cup of Folgers’s Crystals from an archaic and overly diluted drip machine, from the back of PuPaw meeting, made two hours before, or a deep mug of just-roasted organic shade-grown from a French press on a Saturday morning, with your lover, sitting in the sunshine in your garden. Or if you have been drinking Maxwell House for the past ever-since-you-can-remember, consider the difference between freshly squeezed orange juice and its quiet frozen cousin. But then, if you drink dead coffee, you probably prefer dead juice and milk too. There’s another way!

Fresh, raw milk is full, creamy, and it’s literally still alive. At least once in a life, one must experience the simple gourmet from a raw food restaurant. It’s just in a different league of taste. There is something else but sometimes one must work a little to find greater wisdom.

In a huge wok, the milk is heated over red and orange flames from smoldering chunks of coal. A metal cup or ladle is dipped into the steaming white pool, filled and then poured back and forth between large cups with a little (or a lot) of sugar thrown in. The pouring froths-up the milk. Finally, some milk cream is spooned on the top and it is ready for prayer and consumption. That is why I am still here. Well that, and it’s still near-freezing in Oregon.
Hot buffalo milk -- fifteen cents for a glass of this nectar of heaven, or cow sweat – however you want to think about it.

I enquired about how much it would cost to send a water buffalo back home but you wouldn’t believe how much they quoted me for airmail! Plus I can’t figure out where I am going to put all of the stamps! Still working on the details such as the accompanying mud bath/bed and typing up all of the notes so that the ship workers know to milk her twice a day and to sing to her in the evenings before bed.

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On this note, please take a few minutes to educate yourself as to what the current administration is trying to do to regulate the personal and small-scale keeping of animals. They are wanting to make it illegal to have an animal without a license and probably a computer chip inserted into the animal. This not only affects your personal freedoms but hurts the small-scale industries that deal with locally produced animal products – like fresh milk! Please see these sites for more information: http://NoNAIS.org
Read the USDA's "Draft Program Standards" & "Draft Stratigic Plan" at http://www.animalid.aphis.usda.gov/ on the web. You will see that this plan was developed by the livestock "industry" and RFID tag equipment companies.

A letter or two to your local newspaper and politicians (sample letters available) can ensure that this measure does not gather any more momentum in your state. It has, I am told, already been passed in some states.



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2 comments:

jay said...

hey:

milk bar sounds good. you gotta help me figure out where the good indian food places are around here.

jay

jenny said...

Happily following your trail on your travels and so glad to see you speaking out against NAIS. It is a worry for me even with a few chickens, horses and goats. All livestock according to the RFID-happy government. Sigh.

Come back stateside one day willya?

J