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Where Else Could We Get Milk?

April 29, 2010

Don't even try it.

Last week I read a New Yorker story about 2 guys in LA with a restaurant called Animal.

If I read correctly, their chocolate pudding has pork in it, though the form was not specified. I may not have read correctly, and I’m not motivated enough to go back and check, but it seemed like it would be in character for these guys, and based on the generalized pork mania sweeping large metropolitan areas these days, I would not be surprised.

It got me thinking.

We animal (eating) lovers all know that animal fat, in whatever form, can make things taste really good. Witness ice cream, spaghetti carbonara, duck confit, the edge of a strip steak, a plain spoonful of butter. Dairy is such a good vehicle for animal fat, and pig fat is so good, that I began to wonder why we don’t ever drink milk from pigs. (I hear a big collective “ewww” right before a big collective “wait, yumm?”)

Pigs are mammals, yes? So what about pig milk? Well, I’ve done the research for you.

Apparently pig milk is tasty, but pigs are difficult to restrain. If you do manage to restrain them, it’s still a challenge because they’ve got more teats than say, a cow, plus the angling is different since pigs do all side-lying nursing. In short, the getting of the milk is harder to do, unless you are of course a piglet.

Humans also apparently have a pretty well-ingrained tradition going of only drinking milk from things that eat leaves and grass. As opposed to scavengers, who eat everything. Pigs are scavengers. So, probably, are people whose interest is piqued by pig milk. Discerning scavengers, perhaps.

Scavenging has its delights and its limits. Years ago I went lobster fishing with someone in Maine. It was just the two of us on the boat, me and the silent manly fisherman, and since I couldn’t be trusted to navigate, or drive the boat, or pull anything heavy out of the water, or not get mortally wounded by the lobsters if I touched them—it seems that they are not born with the rubber bands on—the chore left to me was to stuff the bait bags with rotting mackerel. Since that day, I’ve been able to detect the whiff of rot in a lobster. Not a bad thing necessarily: we do pay extra for our stinky cheeses, don’t we.

If it works, weirdness is a delight rather than a hindrance. Then an idea that was once unthinkable becomes mainstream. Then you find yourself sitting in the Dunkin’ Donuts drivethrough barely even noticing the extra modifier: “Can you get me a small decaf skim pig latte? No sugar. Thanks.”

Thanks to The Pug Father on Flickr for use of the photo.


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