I got to thinking about ‘milk’ after my post of yesterday. I have always had a vague objection to the concept of soy milk in the context in which it is often promoted, because it is hardly ‘natural’. Mammals produce milk, plants definitely do not. The only way to make ‘milk’ out of beans is by a heck of a lot of processing. And anyway, it tastes awful.
Strangely, I don’t have any objection to the concept of almond milk – but then no-one seriously considers it as a nutritional alternative to real (mammalian) milk. Its milkiness is useful for those who eschew animal products (faithful Christians during Lent, and vegans all the time, for example.) And it tastes great.
It seems to me that the non-mammalian milks for which recipes can be found fall into two categories. Firstly, those such as almond milk and soy milk which are used as ‘real’ milk substitutes. Secondly, beverages which the inventor wishes to associate with a particular mammalian characteristic such as strength or power.
In the first category are a number of ‘imitation’ milks, such as artificial asses’ milk and mare’s milk, which we have touched upon in a previous post. These are often intended for medicinal purposes – asses’ milk for example was considered closest to human milk, so suitable for infants or the indisposed, but rarely available, so a mock version was made.
In the second category are a variety of alcoholic ‘cordials’ (the word originally meaning restorative beverages). I give you a couple of examples from one of our recent sources - Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, by William Terrington, 1869. Note that the version of Asses’ Milk that appears below is not suitable for babies, but is probably so named because excessive consumption would cause one to behave like an ass.
To 1 oz. of benzoin gum, dissolved in 1 pint of spirits of wine, add 1 lb. of sugar, dissolved in 1 quart of boiling water.
½ gill of rum; bottle of aerated lemonade.
Quotation for the Day.
Things are never what they seem,
Skim milk masquerades as cream.
H.M.S. Pinafore, W.S.Gilbert