Of the many things I don’t understand, one of the biggest is why people don’t like buttermilk. I love it. Very few things make me want to lick the container. It is so utterly delicious that I almost cry for joy when I drink it. I know it’s a little dramatic, but that’s me.
I was watching Julia Child one day on one of those cooking shows where she had a guest chef. I don’t remember what was being made. I think it was some kind of fruit tart. I just remember that at the end of the show Julia tasted the item. She broke out into tears of joy. Now, who wouldn’t want to cook something so well that it made Julia Child cry? It was that good! That is the way I feel about buttermilk.
In this I am alone in my family. I had one or two kids who liked it for awhile, but they all have now decided they don’t like it. My wife utterly hates it. Personally, I think that most people hate it because they were expecting something else and were surprised at the stark taste. I mean it has the words “butter” and “milk” in its name, so one might expect a sweet, creamy taste. Once a person’s expectations are shattered, I think the mind goes closed never to open again.
On the other hand, my mother approached letting me taste my first buttermilk with some parental wisdom. She wouldn’t let me have any. She said I probably wouldn’t like it. She warned me up front that it didn’t taste like butter or like milk.
We were in a coffee shop. We had ordered breakfast. Mom ordered milk for me and buttermilk for her. I begged her to let me have some buttermilk, but she said, “We can’t afford to waste money. You’ll take one sip and decide you don’t like and then it will be wasted.”
So, when the food came, she salted and peppered her buttermilk, stirred it up with a spoon, and drank it down pausing for exclamations of joy and satisfaction. I watched that glass over the next few minutes. The characteristic streaks on the sides of the glass as pieces of the thick liquid settled to the bottom fascinated me.
Again I pleaded with her to let me try it. She made a deal with me. She would order some for me if I promised I would drink the whole thing even if I absolutely hated it. I agreed.
My glass of the divine liquid came. She offered to salt and pepper it for me, but I wanted to try it without first. I smelled it. Seemed OK. I took a little sip, so little that I couldn’t really taste it at all. I took a bigger drink. It was on my upper lip.
It certainly tasted differently than anything I had ever had before, but I liked it. The unmitigated boldness of the flavor didn’t deter me. It made it better. I almost declined to have anything so base as salt and pepper defile it, but I agreed to let her season it for me. I drank again. Even better. I’ve been a fan ever since.
Years later, when I was a teenager, Mom made a buttermilk and orange sherbet shake for me. Wow! It was amazing!
So, this morning, my wife asked me to make her a smoothie with our Magic Bullet. This is one of those highly advertised gadgets you think won’t ever work or live up to the infomercials about it, or that you don’t need as badly as you think you did when you got it. The Magic Bullet has been a really smart purchase for it. We almost exclusively use it for smoothies, but it is so much more convenient and easy to use than a big bulky blender. It lives up to all of its claims.
The other day, I had improvised a smoothie from the blueberries we grow in our backyard. She asked me to make one for her today. So, I did. It just has frozen vanilla yogurt, low fat milk, and frozen blueberries. Don’t ask me the proportions. I am an artiste!
I wondered what I would have for breakfast and then I remembered the buttermilk I had in the refrigerator. What if I used it instead of milk? I tried it. I cried a little. Julia would have been impressed.