I’ve never been a milk drinker. I love cheese. And usually ice cream or gelato, as long as they’re not too creamy or full of artificial flavours added from tiny test tube bottles. Yogurt sometimes, though more often as an accompaniment to a curry or a thick, spicy soup. But I don’t like cream-based sauces or soups. And you certainly won’t see me at the fridge with a tall glass of milk in my hand – unless I’m passing it to someone else. I take my coffee black.
Until recently I’ve never thought twice about a bowl of cereal with milk. Milk was kind of in the background of the cereal. Enough to wet the flakes or clusters or what-have-you, but otherwise not really there. But now it is there. And it’s not just milk. I feel like I can taste the grass the cows grazed on. You know the smell of a barn or a country fair? Earth and horses and hay and long grass? It’s that smell, but in taste form. A cold and creamy barn taste. Not fresh air and clean-laundry-off-the-line. Barn. Now I can’t eat cold cereal because of it.
I’ve gone over a few possibilities:
1) Because the milk is organic, there’s a better chance the milk does have a grassy taste, and, ideally, that should be good. I’m getting a sense of the grass or feed that the cow who gave her milk, has been eating. If that’s actually the case, I appreciate the ideology, but I still can’t get past the taste.
2) Maybe I have highly-sensitive taste-buds and should work for the CIA of the food world. Embrace the taste gift. But then, if there was such an organization, wouldn’t they find me?
3) Try non-dairy ‘milk’ in my cereal. Well, I didn’t quite get that far. I read the sides of a number of cartons and Tetra packs at the grocery store but the almond, coconut, and soy milks all had too many ingredients for me. Besides, then I would taste coconut in my cereal, instead. Better, but not really what I’m after.
4) Stop eating cold cereal with milk. So far I’ve stalled at #4. I can’t get past the taste, and don’t like the non-milk alternatives.
So now I rarely have a bowl of cereal. I don’t really miss it.
But I wonder if avoidance is really solving anything; won’t my yogurt soon start to taste grassy? Or my cappuccino have a hint of pasture in the foam? And then one day maybe I’ll notice a cake I’ve baked (with a little milk) has a meadow-y essence! I guess the silver lining is at least it won’t be artificial meadow essence out of a bottle.