Friday, July 29, 2011

Where Buttermilk (and this one onion) comes to die.

I think milk is gross. I have absolutely no problem admitting that or defending it. It is my taste preference and if we disagree, that's fine. I think milk is gross. It's gross because of where it comes from. It's gross because of what happens to it during the pastfakgakhf and homogekhcga process, and it's especially gross because of what happens to it when it goes bad. I don't like having something in my house that is going to require me to wear a gas mask and gloves and a really steady pair of super tongs to dispose of it (so I don't have to touch it, of course! duh) if it just so happens that I can't quite finish all I have purchased within the allotted time. It's like a ticking time bomb in there, just waiting to go off and shove it's little foul smelling chunks of curd right down my line of vision as I pour it into the sink....ughgghgh. And I am *definitely* one of those people that will *not* drink milk after the sell by date. I get it. The "sell by" is when it has to be *sold* by. I can read. I don't care. It's gross one day after that day and it gets set aside and offered to my husband until even he has to turn his nose up at it.

All that being said, I must admit, I do drink milk on occasion, my children use milk on their cereal and have the occasional recreational glass with a piece of cake, etc. We buy three different kinds of milk weekly in huge gallon jugs (the amount is almost entirely due to the fact that they eat a lot of cereal and that I do a lot of baking with milk, and Felix is a bit lactose intolerant so he gets special milk)'s a bit obscene really. And to be fair to us, it rarely, very rarely, ever goes bad before it gets used up. Except for Buttermilk.

Now, if there was a King of gross milk, it would be Buttermilk, IMHO. I know that to some Poles, namely my husband and probably most of his family, what I have just typed is some sort of blasphemy in the hall of foodstuffs. I'm sorry, it's just the way I feel, and you shouldn't ignore your feelings, they could start to bottle up... and that's not good...IMHO.  Buttermilk is fairly disgusting to me because of several reasons. Let's explore those now...

1) It's incredibly, incredibly, thick. I *hate* thick milk. I drink Skim because I can't stand 2% milk thickness. You can't even *pay* me to try Whole milk. Buttermilk is so thick that when it comes out you might even automatically think that it's already curdled because it jumps out of the bottle in a big huge thick globular glob that just slowly slides into the cup...much as I imagine a really curdled whole milk might do. Goo, Are the hairs standing up on the back of your neck yet? Just wait. This is only #1.

2) Buttermilk smells bad, fresh out of the bottle, well before the sell by date. This is my worst nightmare...a milk that STARTS OUT smelling curdled. It's sickeningly sour, and yet, creamy, at the same time. Who created this stuff and who were they trying to torture when they did it...maybe this guy...

...or this woman... except... maybe...yep...looks like she's already being tortured by someone else, so couldn't be her...

regardless of who they were trying to harm and the detestable drink that evolved, using Buttermilk in my cooking always makes me want to do this...

3) Buttermilk always goes bad before I can use it all. Hence the title of my post today. And yes, I am blaming the Buttermilk for it's lack of a reasonable shelf life. It's already got so many UNreasonable qualities you'd think it could muster one reasonable one that would make me want to say, "well at least it's..." But it doesn't. It goes bad within one week, or sooner! of purchase. And I can rarely just buy one little pint of it so I have to buy the medium size jugs and I use half on my delectable baked good and then desperately look around for another recipe so I can use it up so as not to waste food but I can't find anything reasonable that I could do quickly (because we all know that f you're bothering to use Buttermilk in the first place then you must be attempting to make real [insert pastry name here] so it's not just a quick "mix everything together and throw in the oven" kind of thing). Ugh. Buttermilk: what is it good for? (ok, maybe helping, occasionally, in a pinch, with pastries)

Which leads me to number 4 and 5 and my recent interaction with buttermilk and why it, and I, will always have a tumultuous and yet close-knit, relationship. This one recipe. And this one man.

4) I love Julia Child's scones more than any other baked pastry, in the whole entire world and universe. And you have to use Buttermilk. I justify it by reminding myself how much delicious golden butter (of which I have an unhealthy love affair with, in all my cooking) is used and the fact that they always come out beautifully and I can force myself to forgive Buttermilk for being so gross for the 1 hour or so it takes me, from start to finish, to make this delightfully light and airy, and yet rich and satisfying, impressive pastry.

5) Martin loves Buttermilk. The other night I was trying, once again, to use all the Buttermilk in my possession. I had made a double batch of scones. I had even accidentally spilled a bit in the process but it made no difference. I had about the equivalent of a cup's worth left and I had to do something with it (I can't throw it out, as much as I dislike it I can only imagine all those poor children around the world who would give their last piece of clothing for one little cup of something so belly filling). I turned to Martin and asked him if he would just drink the rest so I could be done with the whole lot of it. He says sure...takes a big swig and proceeds to exclaim...

*"I love Buttermilk, it reminds me of my childhood... and darkness."

Oh, what a guy. Oh, what a disgusting drink.

*Martin went on to explain, as I looked at him as though he had just told me he was pregnant, that it reminds him of when he was little.They would drink Buttermilk, by the glassful, in Poland,( including in the winter time when it gets DARK early), on Fridays when there was no meat served (which in Poland is every Friday) with Potato pancakes and Kasza (buckwheat...uhhhhhhh...yeeeeeeah...buckwheat), and fried eggs. He really, really likes Buttermilk. I knew this and yet I still married him. We all make sacrifices.

P.S. Sometimes other foods go bad in our fridge as well. For instance, this purple onion I found today in the back of the veggie drawer...

It doesn't need to speak for itself. The leg's it is trying so desperately to grow, on it's *own*, in order to try and throw *itself* away, speak for it, just fine...


  1. Oh my goodness gracious....he DRANK the buttermilk??????????? Blechlerjlekjrlejeuck!

  2. I can't believe he drank that. gross.

    You should try dried buttermilk for baking. It lasts forever in your fridge. I think it's in the baking isle or wherever boxed and canned milk products are kept. It works with pastries and pancakes and doesn't smell!

  3. Dried Buttermilk!? I will definitely try it. If I get the same results then I am sold. If for no other reason than the waste factor.