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Serving: WI

Meat-free burgers and blue john milk

Life Is Simple: Blue john milk is what’s left after you skim off the cream.

I’m used to getting some strange texts from my wife, but last week’s message took the cake. She asked, “What is blue john milk?”

She had overheard her friend Rex use the term, and even though she had heard it before, she couldn’t remember what it referred to.

Those of you who are my age or older and grew up on a farm where cows were milked — meaning you were raised on the freshest moo-juice possible — will know. I told her that long before homogenization became a thing, fresh cow milk, if allowed to sit in a container overnight in the refrigerator, would produce a layer of rich, fatty cream on the top. It could be carefully skimmed off and used for homemade butter or for cooking. The liquid that was left was the equivalent of today’s version of skim milk: a no-fat, pale-looking white liquid that might even have a bluish tint to it. And as my dad used to describe it, “Blue john milk doesn’t have enough oomph to keep a cat alive.”

I guess it was just a coincidence that her question about the weak milk happened around the same time as the introduction of one of the big fast-food giant’s meat-free burgers. I’d been hearing about the “burger” for some time and figured it would be just another failed attempt to produce a veggie burger that didn’t taste like … well … a veggie burger.

So, I was surprised when I started reading reviews by food critics, columnists and editors who raved about the meatless burger’s tastiness and texture. Many stated they could not distinguish it from the real beef burger served up by the same company. According to reports, the introduction of the new meatless burger was such a success that it is now going to be offered nationwide.

To be fair, I have not tasted the new product — and because I raise beef cattle, have no plans to do so. I do, however, have a friend who told me his niece’s boyfriend’s sister’s fiance’s friend tried one and found it to be delicious and worth the extra $1 to $3 price tag (depending on where you live) per burger, in order to do her part in saving the planet and eating healthier.

I did look up the ingredient list for the new burger and, to me, it looked like a page from my old organic chemistry textbook. Granted, I was happy to finish that course with a D, but I still don’t think I want to eat things I can’t pronounce. Also, it should be pointed out that the meat substitute’s nutritional value is considerably less than that of real beef.

My suggestion, then, to those who want to pay more money for less nutrition, would be to order the new meat-free burger along with a big, cold glass of blue john milk.

Crownover lives in Missouri.

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