Yesterday, I went to a natural foods store called Harvest House in Concord, CA. I bought half a gallon of raw, whole milk in a glass container. At the checkout, the man ringing up my groceries told me that if I brought back the used container, I would get $1.50 off the cost of another half gallon, or I could opt to be given the same amount in cash – “Like the old days,” the man joked.
When I got home, I opened the jar to find a thick layer of cream floating on the top. My mother has often told me that she misses the rich flavor of the creamy milk she used to drink every morning as a child. The presence of the cream made me feel that I was finally drinking milk as it was supposed to be experienced. And the flavor was amazing.
To be sure, our grandmothers had it much more difficult than we do. Most of them spent a good portion of their time preparing food from scratch. And while I am grateful that I don’t need to dedicate so much of my life to milking cows and canning massive amounts of vegetable to last an entire winter, I also feel that there is something deeply important about understanding where food comes from and preparing it with love and care – something our culture has lost and must work to regain.