Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Okay, the picture is a non-sequitur sorta, sorry Julie. I don't know how often she checks in here these days, but my dear friend Julie once asked if the text in my posts could have some relationship to the photos. Here's the tie in: what I'm blogging about is nutrition and perceptions of what's desirable in food. The picture is of my bike with its Christmas finery on, outside a store where I bought food. And on the same day, the encounter I wanted to blog about, I had that in the process of riding my bike home from work. See? It's dripping with relationship.
Being a cardiac patient who goes for a fairly exotic treatment for a blood disorder that causes early onset heart disease, I'm far from oblivious on the diet front. But given how much of my problem seems to stem from non-dietary sources, I sometimes wonder if I really gain anything when I grab 0% cottage cheese or yogurt instead of the full fat version. For that matter, when it comes to the desirable fats, like in fish, the healthiest options are supposedly the fattiest, your salmon, tuna, the 'oily' fish. Which is fine by me, I love some salmon nigiri a lot more than I like full fat cottage cheese, and rare tuna steak beats full fat yoghurt any day.
But anyway, today on my commute home I stopped for a beer at the truck stop. It's really just a convenience store in the West Bottoms, but they have diesel pumps and thus was nicknamed the 'truck stop' by some cyclists I know. It's owned by a Pakistani guy who tries to teach me Pashto and lets me bring my bike in the store since he has almost nothing to lock up to outside. I will grab a bomber of Guinness or a sixer of PBR there sometimes on the way home, every once in a while a snack. Anyway, this evening he showed me a video he was really excited about, of his daughter, who went back to Pakistan for a visit, milking a buffalo. There was some back and forth when I asked what he meant by a buffalo, because I didn't think there were bison in Pakistan, there's barely bison here in North America, where they come from. No, a water buffalo. That's allowed in the house, because it's so docile and charming. And makes such great milk. It doesn't get in the water often, but when it does, it's very enthusiastic.
'Very fatsome,' he told me. 'The milk of buffalo is very rich, full of fat.' They drink it, they let it ferment into yoghurt, and they prize it for it's fat content. 'Much better than cow milk.'
Which I guess is a holdover from that old world/third world way of thinking about food. Before you can worry about your arteries clogging up, you have to get clear of worrying about whether you're going to get enough calories to stay the hell alive. For most of human history, that wasn't an easy bar to clear and there are still probably more people on earth who can't be sure of clearing it than can.