Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Keep Milk and Butter.

When I travel, I like to travel light - but I also don’t like to do without the comforts of home and the good things of life. Tea bags solve the problem for me. Usually, at home, I have milk in tea, but in extreme situations, or just for a change, I drink it without. I never feel the need to go to extreme lengths to find milk in low-milk environments.

Real explorers and adventurers seem to take a perverse pride in doing it all tough and manly, so I was surprised to find that the intrepid author of yesterday’s source, The Art of Travel: or Shifts and Contrivances available in Wild Countries (1872) gave space to methods of preservation of milk and butter. Bit sissy, that, isnt it? Carrying glass bottles of preserved milk would make the choice of beasts of burden more difficult too, I would think. 

Anyway, who am I to judge? I have never done anything more adventurous than a hot-air balloon ride – although that did turn out to be exciting, as we crash landed. No glass bottles aboard, thankfully.
Should milk and butter be essential to your trip, and portability and lack of refrigeration not be issues for you, here is how Sir Frederick suggests you prepare them:

Milk, to keep.-Put it in a bottle, and place it in a pot of water, over a slow fire, till the water boils; let the bottle remain half an hour in the boiling water, and then cork it tightly. Milk with one's tea is a
great luxury; it is worth taking some pains to keep it fresh. A traveller is generally glutted with milk when near native encampments, and at other times has none at all. Milk dried into cakes, intended to be grated into boiling water for use, was formerly procurable: it was very good; but I cannot hear of it now in the shops. Milk preserved in tins is excellent, but it is too bulky for the convenience of most travellers. Dried bread-crumb, mixed with fresh cream, is said to make a cake that will keep
for some days. I have not succeeded, to my satisfaction with this recipe.

Butter, to preserve. -Boil it in a large vessel till the scum rises. Skim this off as fast as it appears on the surface, until the butter remains quite clear, like oil. It should then be carefully poured off, that the
impurities which settle at the bottom of the vessel may be separated. The clarified butter is to be put aside to be kept, the settlings must be used for common and immediate purposes. Butter is churned, in many countries, by twirling a forked stick, held between the two hands, in a vessel full of cream; or even by shaking the cream in a bottle. It is said that the temperature of the milk, while it is being churned, should be between 50 degrees and 60 degrees Fahr., and that this is all-important to success.

Quotation for the Day.

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.
Robert Fulghum.

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