In keeping with the foodie theme (and my continued food hallucinations while on the low-iodine diet) today’s post is about the unsung hero of the diary world: buttermilk.
I’m paraphrasing a bit from the New York Times, but Debbie Moose, a food historian, (side note: you can also be a food anthropologist. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THESE DREAM CAREERS???) recalls the past prevalence of buttermilk down South. So much so, that “regular” milk was called “sweet milk.” Link to the full Times article here for you Nappy-In-The-Know readers. If you don’t find the cover photo of milkmaid Colleen Cruze “udderly” charming, then you have no whimsy in your soul.
Buttermilk is the liquid by-product left over after milk has been churned into butter. The taste is creamy and a bit tangy — similar to yogurt, which can be an acquired taste. It adds a richness to baking (and pancakes) that our sensory deprived palates can’t fathom. The stuff we see on our local supermarket shelves or cobble together by mixing milk and vinegar in a pinch is a poor substitute for the real thing. I’m going to make a more concerted effort to find the freshest, traditional buttermilk around and give it spin. Those of you who know me can say (with love & affection) that cooking is not my strong suit. But since I’ve been making my food out of food for the last few weeks I’ve surprised myself with just how tasty some of my meals have turned out (or I’m just really, REALLY hungry). Of course, this time of year gives you whole lot of fresh ingredients to work with, and this should give even the most fretful cook some courage. A few fresh tomatoes, basil and a little olive oil go a long way in building a fresh sauce (and culinary confidence).
But don’t get me wrong, my first meal will be heaping plate of Gulf Coast seafood enchiladas, jambalaya on the side, topped off with some Ben&Jerry’s ice cream. Come to Mama, dairy and iodine!