Oops!

I was traveling last Friday and entirely forgot to post. And then, reentry mode. So I’ll post today three days late and a day early.

Carl and I have begun planning our cross-country road trip. It’s been delayed for myriad reasons to June 21, at which point we will tally-ho! Three and a half weeks of driving and stopping and charging and blogging and Carl will practice his trombone because he’ll have a gig the day after we return. All this on the assumption that we haven’t developed Staph a infections. The happy cow that provides us with happy milk was tested for it and the results came back positive. She has no symptoms but there sit the results, suggesting creepy microscopic bugs that kill.

After hearing this news, we decided to pasteurize the half gallon of milk that we had in the refrigerator. That requires heating the milk to 140 degrees for half an hour. Or for 5 minutes. Actually, 145. Or maybe the milk is supposed to be heated up to 160 . . . maybe 175 for from 5-30 minutes, all determined by the source that has come up on Google or Ecoasia, my current search engine.

Innocents that we were, Carl and I went with the first article that came up: 140-ish degrees for 30 minutes. While Carl busied himself continuing the research of just what staphylococcus bacteria can do and how resistant it has become over the decades, I heated the pan of milk for half an hour. The directions then directed me to put the pan in the sink with cold water, adding ice to keep it cold. But I didn’t do that because that would be a waste of water and of ice. Instead, I went outside and put the pan on a snow bank. Snow banks are cold, right? Ice all around. And stirred. The directions say to stir and don’t stop stirring until that 140 degree heated milk is down to 40 degrees at which point you are to put it into (I assume) a sterilized jar and pop your homemade pasteurized milk into the refrigerator.

Carl came out to help stir. The snow bank glistened with sun. A little drop or two of ice might have dropped into the milk. And the thermometer wasn’t exactly clean when we dipped it, again and again, into the slow chilling milk because we’d wipe it off in the snow bank that is located on the side of our driveway. A suggestion of mud adorns the snow.

I think it was in the movie The Game Changers that we learned about vitamin B-12. It’s the vitamin that is hard to get if you don’t eat animal protein. Which, of course, Carl and I still do. We tried to limit, and still do, our intake of animal protein but barring cheese and, yes, milk from our diet lasted about five days. We eat less of it but there it remains in our refrigerator. Point being, B-12 can be found where there is bacterial growth, namely in dirt (that could be described, at times, as mud.) People used to get B-12 from dirt. That’s where B-12 lives. So it seemed to me that if a little dirt ended up in our newly pasteurized milk, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. In fact, it’s good.

Stir, stir, stir. We got it down to 70 degrees at which time I–who hadn’t put on a jacket or anything substantial to protect me from the 31 degree air–suggested to Carl we go in and he–having also opted for PJs in the snow bank! It’s fun!–followed me into the house.

We both had that pasteurized milk in our cafe lattes this morning. I think we will live to tell the tale. But we texted our friend who provides us with happy milk–he who is far braver than us and will continue to drink that milk–to tell him that we are taking a break from our happy, raw milk days. Too bad. The milk is delicious.

And I saw this while walking along the river through Rockefeller Park in NYC: