Every now and then you read or hear stories about pregnancy, labour and motherhood that make you sit back, arch an eyebrow and go ‘Really?’. It’s happened to me many times.
It’s a reaction I had when reading that some women experience orgasms during childbirth. Ok I had a much stronger reaction than ‘Really?’. Kind of more like ‘Holy cervix!’ (It’s dangerous to say holy cow these days). I am always amazed to hear about the women who didn’t even know they were pregnant until they delivered an eight pounder in the toilet one morning. No morning sickness? No weight gain? No inexplicable desire to take an axe to your husband’s head? I hate these women. And I feel a distinct sense of queasiness when skimming articles praising the benefits of eating one’s placenta. Or your fiancees as Tom Cruise famously joked he might do.
The latest story making me wonder whether to go ‘eww’ or ‘oh?’ is from the Big Apple. New York chef and restaurateur Daniel Angerer, runs the Manhattan restaurant Klee, and his latest culinary offering is cheese made from breast milk supplied by his wife and restaurant co-owner Lori Mason. When the couple realised they had an excess supply in their freezer intended for their baby daughter Arabella their first thoughts were to donate some to an infant milk bank which could help little babies in Haiti. But since the milk bank requires thorough check-ups which take time, they began to run out of freezer space. And of course, like the rest of us, Angerer’s first thought was to turn the breast milk in to cheese as “To throw it out would be like wasting gold.”
Angerer is not allowed to sell the cheese at his brasserie as city authorities have told the restaurant to keep its breast milk cheese away from customers even though there is no actual law forbidding them from doing so.
Though the comments on the good chef’s blog indicate that there is growing tribe of consumers more than willing to sample cheeses, gelatos and anything else that can be made from breast milk, some people are still put off by the idea. (Remember the episode in FRIENDS where Ross is challenged to taste his ex wife’s breast milk and cannot bring himself to as it’s just too ‘weird’.)
So why do we have such an averse, squeamish reaction to something made from breast milk? After all, cow’s milk and goat’s milk is the same thing: milk from a mother’s breast that is there to feed her child. And we have no problem drinking that milk and eating foods derived from it. Does our aversion to it stem from the same place that our awkwardness to mother’s breast feeding in public arises? To many breasts are a sexual object, we don’t really like to think of them as something
required for feeding our young. We certainly don’t want to think of them when feasting on an amuse-bouche of maple caramelised pumpkin encrusted cheese with texturised concord grapes.
I must admit I have a perverse desire to taste the cheese. It’s a feeling akin to one’s attitude towards scabs, they’re gross but you can’t help but want to pick at them. (If like Angerer you have some spare breast milk lying around, you can find the recipe on his blog at http://chefdanielangerer.typepad.com.)
(Thanks to http://www.30in2005.blogspot.com for pointing out the news article to me in the first place)