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Homelifestylefood-and-drinkIt’s a milky world

It’s a milky world

In the beginning there was just water, raw fruit and vegetables. With no access to fire or spices, there was no cooking. It was a case of plucking from the trees and putting directly into one’s mouth. There was no tea or coffee. It was plain old doodh, good for health and soothing for the stomachs. After milk was collected from the cow, people drank the nutritious milk, ate some fruit and satisfied their stomach. That must have been their lunch or dinner. With the discovery of fire, food started being cooked.

Milk was a jolly good fellow. Content to remain a bachelor all his life. He loved his single status, in fact he revelled in it. To satiatetheir hunger, people who loved milk, drank plenty of it. But there were some people who avoided milk. For one, they didn’t like drinking milk, and two, it gave them upset tummies. Not everyone liked the taste of milk and for those with lactose intolerance, it sent them rushing to the bathroom often, clutching both their stomach and knickers.

Nevertheless, milk was still popular and happy with his fame. But as time passed, milk was quick to realise that he could gain more popularity. Well, who doesn’t like to be famous, get mobbed, I mean slurped.

Luckily for milk as it grew older, when he entered his teens, tea leaves and coffee beans were discovered. Now milk’s happiness was uncontrollable. He had two new friends. He allowed them to invade and infiltrate his personal space, letting them change his colour and alter his personality. People went berserk drinking gallons of tea and coffee.

As time passed, milk thought long and hard. He decided to reinvent himself. I mean don new avatars. Get a makeover. His gentle eyes looked everywhere, widening when they saw juicy fruit dangling from the trees. The luscious golden yellow mango, the deep red strawberry, the ripe yellow banana attracted him like ants to a jar of honey. Not one to rest on his laurels, he once again reinvented himself. You guessed it right, by turning into smoothies and milkshakes. This relationship with fruit and dry fruit gave it added power. When the dieters and gym freaks swore by their smoothies, milk’s chest swelled to double its size. Now even those who weren’t fond of milk were attracted to it. Well, who could resist the lure of a thick milkshake? Life was indeed good for milk. It had more takers.

Life was cruising along smoothly for good old milk aka doodh, when a midlife crisis hit him. The urge to do something different struck him so hard, that milk started sweating. His usual calm persona changed. As he started curdling, alarm bells rang in his mind. Slowly the whey separated and pieces of cottage cheese or paneer floated in the yellow liquid. Milk saw potential in this new development. A new fan club emerged from this amazing personality.  He could now appeal to a wider population. Why not? He deserved his newfound status. Paneer gained popularity and amassed love from young and old alike. People gobbled up paneer at an alarming rate. Milk’s joy doubled. He could now appeal to a wider population. 

One day a little fermented milk was added to normal milk as an experiment. That was the day curd was born. When doctors said that curd or yoghurt had loads of benefits and was good for gut health, milk became gutsy. Why not? He deserved this fame. Curd was super smart. He had a fantastic sense of the weather. He realised he could make sweltering summer temperature work to his advantage. For this purpose, he sent feelers to water. Water was more than eager to partner with curd. It whispered in curd’s ears that they would need the help of salt and sugar, who both came on board instantly. Thus chaas (buttermilk) and sweet lassi were born. A boon for parched throats, hearty stomachs and a big blessing for thirsty people.

Milk realised that whenever he was agitated he metamorphosed into paneer, but when the agitation was planned and induced slowly, he thickened into delicious rabri. Whistling a merry tune this jolly good, happy-go-lucky fellow, continued on his food journey, leaving a trail of drool behind.

Though generally a calm fellow, not given to temper tantrums, when the weather turned cold, milk got the chills. Shivering uncontrollably, he froze into a delicious solid which came to be known as ice-cream. This gave good old milk a rockstar-like fan following and the status of a food icon. Milk is still on the lookout for more culinary milestones to conquer.

(Published 13 October 2023, 23:16 IST)

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