A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Revolutionary acts

I've maybe mentioned here previously that I have a bit of culinary skill. Well, maybe it's been bragging at times. If you don't toot your own horn a little, you can't complain that there's no music.

Last night, I made yogurt for the first time ever. Yes — made it, not bought. This yogurt began as ordinary milk from Kroger (or maybe 7-Eleven, seems like I might have stopped there to get a Powerball ticket or two or three). I put this milk into four half-pint jars and heated and cooled it in an alchemy which has been known for thousands of years. After that was done, I added some microorganisms to each jar. Finding them was very simple: they came in a small container with Oikos printed on the side of it (and this key phrase: "live active cultures"), also available at Kroger. These little guys did most of the work. I merely provided them a happy place to live and reproduce and stay nice and warm. Nine hours later, each jar was filled with a white, gelatinous mass and it smelled like fermented wonderfulness. I put them in the fridge before leaving for work this morning to let them chill. The true test comes tomorrow morning when I take my first bite, but all my senses are pointing to this being the best yogurt I'll have ever eaten.

When you think about it, the whole process was pretty miraculous. I took plain milk and turned it into something else. Not quite water into wine, perhaps, but I submit that it's in that realm. And it happened in my ordinary kitchen, on an ordinary Monday night, as my son and I slept.

In the refrigerated section of any grocery store in this country, I can buy all-natural yogurt starting at $1 per six-ounce container all the way up to a stratospheric $2.49 for the super frou-frou stuff. The kind that says, "Look at me, I'm eating fancy yogurt." Once you sink below the $1 price point, the quality kind of... well, drops. Artificial flavoring, and corn starch, and gelatin, and tricalcium phosphate, and acesulfame potassium (what?), and... you get the idea. It kind of tastes like yogurt. Kind of. It's cheaper, and it sells, but if I have to look your ingredients up on Wikipedia (and trust me — don't look up tricalcium phosphate), it makes me want to ask questions. And you don't want me asking questions. I've been thrown out of places for that.

Meanwhile — in my ordinary kitchen — I made the equivalent of four six-ounce containers of all-natural fancy yogurt for a total cost of 48 cents (yes, 12 cents each!). Only two ingredients: milk, and some microorganisms which did the lion's share of the work, some of which I will save for the next batch. Thus we will live in symbiosis for awhile, me providing them a means to continue their genetic line, that quiet spark of life, and them providing me with a delicious breakfast for literally pennies — and in a way, doing me the same favor as I them.

Miraculous? Yes, but not just that. Revolutionary.

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