When I was young, not even ten years old, my digestive system as well as my psyche told me that I did not like milk. It’s not easy for a kid to tell his parents that he doesn’t want any dairy products. The process of eliminating that stuff from my diet was a slow wean. I quickly stopped drinking regular white milk, eating butter, cheese and related ichy edibles. I still drank chocolate milk, chocolate shakes and sodas and ate ice cream cones into my early teens. I even gobbled up milk chocolate candy bars until my thirties. And then I stopped cold turkey.
I remember at age six my father trying to force me to eat a cream cheese sandwich and I practically glued my mouth shut until my mother came home from wherever she was to save me.
My parents took me to an allergist to check out if my unwillingness to eat what everyone else was, was in my head or a medical problem. The results confirmed that I was allergic to tomatoes and other items such as ragweed (remind me to tell you about that!) and possibly strawberries. But, the tests were inconclusive about dairy foods. It didn’t matter to me. Try to make me eat bovine excretion and see what happens.
Mentioning chocolate shakes and sodas reminds me of the time I went to a world class resort in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The price included three full meals a day. We could order as many entrees, sidedishes and desserts as we wanted at each meal. Still, come around 9:00pm, there was a craving for a snack which we had to purchase in their ice cream parlor.
I asked the counter lady to make me a chocolate phosphate. She looked at me like I had a medical problem and was asking for bicarbonate of soda. I then remembered that this was not an expression known by the East Coast Intelligensia. So, I explained that I wanted an Egg Cream without the milk and suddenly she understood. She said, “Oh, you want a chocolate soda.” I replied that where I came from, a chocolate soda meant that it included seltzer, chocolate syrup and ice cream. I just wanted the seltzer and chocolate. She then said that what I called a chocolate soda she called a Boston Cow. Whatever.
The American Dairy Association can afford a lot of well-paid lobbyists and public relations people. They have convinced the public that we need to have milk in order to get our proper daily dose of protein. For me, that’s where the soy milk and peanut butter comes in. And tuna fish and other soy products such as tofu.
When I went on a vacation to California in the late 1970’s, I was treated to lunch at an all vegetarian restaraunt by my mother’s best friend who had moved there years earlier. At the eatery she suggested that I have an alfalfa sprouts salad and a mock chicken sandwich. I asked her,” uh- isn’t alfalfa basically what horses chew on?” She replied in the affirmative. After I tried it, she asked me if I liked it. I swung my head from side to side and whinnied.
Before I put the mock chicken in my mouth, I asked her what it was composed of. She said it consisted mostly of tofu. At the time I had no idea what it was. But, it had a cardboard, neutral taste and didn’t have any milk or tomatoes in it so it was good enough for me.
Which reminds me, I guess I didn’t mention that I don’t eat beef either. That’s because one day a good friend of the family was doing business with a meat packing house and thought it would be fun for me to come and see what goes on there. You don’t want to know, trust me. I haven’t been to a chicken or turkey packing house yet so they are still on the menu.
By the way, if you haven’t yet thought about it – all cows are vegetarians. To think otherwise is udder nonsense. (sorry)