Sunday, May 13, 2012


On rare occasions, my father drank a single glass of buttermilk. Watching him approach it as a special treat fascinated me, and I often asked for a taste. I couldn't stand the stuff.

But because my father liked it, I tried to do as he had done and drink it. I'm sure I tried it at least once every decade. Around age sixty I started to like it, and now I often buy a quart. I can't explain how my disgust at buttermilk's sour, fermented taste has turned into pleasure. I suspect that commercial buttermilk itself has changed, and I know that my taste buds aren't as sensitive as they used to be. But no matter; buttermilk is now a special treat for me, and a special remembrance of my father.

There's a weird aspect to this story. How did it happen that my father occasionally drank a single glass of buttermilk? We never bought it by the quart, and I really mean that he had the occasional glass. Here's how it happened: he would see buttermilk on the restaurant menu and decide to order it. Have you ever, ever seen buttermilk on a restaurant menu?

Times have changed.
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