“I’m not suggesting everyone needs to enjoy milk as much as I do; I just find the outright disgust misplaced.” These are the wise words of Kate Bernot, who wrote about milk’s bad rap last November. Dean Foods, America’s largest milk producer, had recently filed for bankruptcy, and the internet masses began to rejoice, saying that milk is actually disgusting. “I suspect milk haters are judging milk by its homogenized, skim versions,” Kate speculated at the time. “What other food would we categorically dismiss based on its poorest version?”
Within the past few years, I’ve decided to allot more of my grocery budget to quality milk, since it’s something I consume every day. I am, I realize, wildly fortunate to be able to spend $6.50 on a gallon of local milk, sourced from farmers who (I like to imagine, though I am potentially way off-base) might even have names and personality traits assigned to the cows. In any case, the milk is creamy and flavorful—interestingly, I’ve found that when it’s not mass-produced, 2% milk tastes much closer to whole milk than the 2% you might find at, say, a gas station. Whole milk from small farms, meanwhile, is practically heavy whipping cream in the best possible way, and the only reason I don’t default to it over 2% is that it’s too delicious to conserve. A gallon with twice the fat is gone in half the time.
The biggest hurdle with local milk is the non-homogenized fat, those yellowish chunks that glug their way into your glass no matter how hard you shake the jug before you pour. But I’m pleased to say I’ve worked out an easy fix: microwave your glass for about 15 seconds, then use an electric frother (or a tiny whisk) to incorporate the now-liquid melted fat. Congratulations, you’ve just discovered warm milk, the most calming drink in the universe. Add it to coffee while it’s still hot, or allow it to reach room temperature to apply it to your breakfast cereal. Just don’t dismiss it as something that’s “gross” solely because you were scolded into drinking translucent skim milk as a kid and the memory forever stuck with you. I was that kid too; give milk another shot and you might be surprised.