Human Cheese aka Recycling Breast Milk

Human Cheese.  Cheese made from breast milk.  Read that again.  Say it out loud.  What do you think?  Do you cringe?  Wrinkle your nose?  Smile?  Maybe you wonder what it tastes like.

When I first heard of making cheese from human breast milk I shook my head and dismissed it as a chef’s experimental fancy.  I didn’t really have a visceral reaction to it.  I read this post on the Globe‘s website and the thought of human milk as a sustainable food source brought out a much stronger response.

Eating human cheese.  My initial reaction to this was:  No way.  Gross.  Ewww.  That’s just wrong.

Evolution being what it is, my brain kept working.

Why though?  Why would it be wrong?  Because there’s something cannibalistic about it.  But wait.  I nursed both my kids.  Does that make them cannibals?  No.  Okay so that string of logic isn’t so logical.  Why is it so easy to accept the idea of eating cow’s milk products and so difficult to warm to the idea of human milk products?

After a few days thought and a handful of conversations about human cheese, I’ve given up trying to explain my aversion to the notion of eating the ultimate in all natural organic cheese.  What I’ve become more fascinated by is the marketplace that has developed for the sale/purchase of breast milk.  A quick search uncovers several websites devoted to classified ads where an ounce of milk sells for anywhere from $1 to $3.  One company has already been created to re-sell the milk.  They pasteurize it and test it for disease/bacteria and then turn around and sell it at a mark-up.  I’m more averse to this commercialization of breast milk than I am to the idea of eating human cheese.

Food for thought.


Bringing in the Harvest: Roasting Vegetables

I’ve always loved a good roasted potato. To me, it is perfection in textures married together: crispy outside, soft and mealy on the inside.  I decided to add some variety to this basic theme and opted to try roasting carrots, onions, brussels sprouts and of course my beloved potato, all together.

For the first attempt, I followed a recipe.  I used completely raw vegetables which may not seem important but it factors into my second attempt.  Thinking that the potatoes would take a little longer to cook than everything else, I chopped those up a little smaller than the carrots.  The onions were somewhat problematic.  I chopped those into quarters.  Since the recipe called for all of the vegetables to be placed into a bowl and mixed together, the layers never stayed together thereby making this vegetable much smaller than the others.  I split the brussels sprouts in half and cut the carrots into small pieces as per the recipe.  Everything was drizzled in a few tablespoons of olive oil, salted and peppered, tossed and put into a prepared cooking pan.  Cook at 350° for 20-40 minutes and presto: burned onions (or, “seriously caramelized” depending on your choice of words), carrots that were almost completely shriveled up, slightly over-done sprouts and partially uncooked potatoes.  Hmmm….  having said that, we still managed to polish off the food as it was quite tasty.

This time, I couldn’t afford to make a mistake.  I chose this dish as a side dish to our Thanksgiving dinner so it had to be done right.

We had some cooked potatoes in the fridge still with their peel on and everything, just calling out to me to be used.  Of course I obliged.  I cut the potatoes into decent sizes remembering that they were already cooked.  I cut the carrots in larger size pieces than the potatoes.  Again, I halved the brussels sprouts.  I quartered the onions and placed them in such a way that (I hoped) they would stick together while cooking or at least not burn.

I used a 13 x 9 pyrex baking dish for this, completely un-prepared (no cooking spray used as per the original recipe).  As I prepared the vegetables I placed them in the dish, omitting the tossing from the first attempt.  Once the vegetables were all set, I gave everything a liberal spray with my olive oil cooking sprayer, dashed with salt and pepper and put in the oven at 400°.  I cooked them for 30-40 minutes, turning them every 15 minutes and removed them from the oven.  About 15 minutes before our turkey was ready, I popped the dish back into the oven to warm the vegetables.  The result: terrific!  Everything was cooked to a uniform degree.  The roasting had concentrated the flavours of each vegetable and as you can see from the After picture, there wasn’t much leftover.

Roasted Veg: Before

Roasted Veg: Before

Roasted Veg: After

Roasted Veg: After

To recap:
Pre-heat oven to 400°.
Chop vegetables, using pre-cooked potatoes.
Place veg in cooking dish.
Spray with olive oil.
Add salt and pepper.
Cook for 30-40 minutes, turning every 15 mins, until done.

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