Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Sept. 07, 2013 - 7:59 a.m.

Basundi and Tea

I was reading through my copy of "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee again a few weeks ago. In it, he mentions that in countries where there is a lot of milk but not a lot of refrigerators they are able to keep milk drinkable and disease free by boiling it every 2 or 3 days. A short simmer is all it takes to kill the nasties, after which the milk can be left out at room temperature again for 2 or 3 more days until you have to repeat the process. With each successive simmer the milk does reduce a bit, which means the sugars in the milk concentrate and it tastes a little sweeter each time. Eventually it reduces to the point where you have something that can be used as a dessert ingredient, or eaten as a treat all by itself.

Now I myself happen to own a refrigerator, but I was intrigued. Was this really true? Could I pour 2 week old room temperature milk on my morning bowl of Quisp cereal and not end up in the Emergency Room an hour later? I had to try it.

So that night before leaving for work I poured a half gallon container of milk into a stoneware pitcher and left it on the counter.

When I got home that afternoon it was in the fridge.

This didn't really surprise me. At 3 in the morning when I'm stumbling around in a post-Ambien stupor trying to find matching socks I do - or forget to do - all sorts of things that I don't remember later. So I just assumed I forgot to set the pitcher on the counter.

That night I set the pitcher back out. And when I got home, it was back in the fridge. But this time I knew I'd set it out the night before because I jotted it down on my PDA: a Post-It note. In the throes of morning exhaustion I've forgotten everything from my lunch, to doctor appointments, to - once - my shoes. So I've taken to jotting important things down on Post-It notes and plastering them in the one place I'm sure to see them later: the toilet bowl lid.

The night before I'd grabbed a Sharpie and scrawled "MILK ON COUNTER" onto a neon green sheet, slapped it on the lid of Big Gulp, and went to work.

When I got home the note was still there, but the pitcher was back in the fridge.

"Hey NewWifey(tm)!" I called. "Did you put a pitcher of milk into the fridge this morning?"

"Yeah" she yelled from her workshop. "This was the third day in a row you've left it out on the counter before you went to work!"

"Didn't you read my note on the toilet?" I asked. "I left the milk out intentionally."

"I don't read your stupid notes. And I wish you wouldn't put them there, they scratch my back. But wait a minute - did you say you left the milk out intentionally? It'll go bad!"

"No it won't" I said. "I read this food science book that says in places like India they leave milk out all day. As long as they boil it once in a while it stays good as new!"

She looked hard at me. "I don't know if you've noticed, but we live in the United States of Appliance Plenty. Keep the milk in the fridge until we move to India." She said the last part very slowly.

"Okay, okay. But how about this: I buy TWO bottles of milk, keep one in the fridge, and go all Indian on the other?"

She sighed. "Fine. Fine. Just don't expect me to try any of it."

So I did it. I left the pitcher out overnight, and it was still on the counter when I got home the next day. And the next day after that. I tasted a few drops each day. Each time it tasted like milk. On the third day I simmered it for a few minutes, poured it into a clean pitcher, and left it out again.

After about a week I noticed that the milk was becoming slightly thick, as well as sweeter and a little on the tan side. But it was still good, still discernible as milk, and still not causing any alimentary tract pyrotechnics. That's pretty much all I ever ask for from a glass of milk, so I was deeming the whole thing a success.

Last Saturday, three weeks into the experiment, I made NewWife(tm) a cup of coffee and brought it into the bedroom for her. I lay next to her and played Animal Crossing on my DS til she took a sip.

"What did you put in this?" she said. "Caramel? It tastes like creme brulee flavoring or something." She took another sip.

"It's that three week old Indian milk!" I said. "Isn't it good?"

She immediately turned the color of fresh milk and spit what was left in her mouth back into the cup.

"You suck!" she yelled. "I told I was not going to drink unrefrigerated milk! What's with you and expired food products anyway? I still have a scar from that fossilized Polish pork!"

"Yeah, but...it's good, right? I mean, you said it tasted like caramel and you're not vomiting or -"


"But honey, it's science. Bacteria die at..."

"FUCK SCIENCE!" she screamed at me. "DON'T! GIVE! ME! BAD! MILK!"

"Okay, okay..."

I went back to the kitchen and had another bowl of Quisp with caramel milk. NewWifey(tm) didn't know what she was missing.

Later that night we settled down to watch our Korean historical drama ("The King's Dream").

"Do you want me to make you a cup of tea before it starts?" she asked.

"That would be nice." I said. "Earl Grey please, with a little of my Indian milk stuff. It won't need sugar."

She nodded and headed off to the kitchen. A few minutes later she returned with a steeped cuppa and we settled back to watch the king of Silla once again try to overcome all odds and mold the 3 Kingdoms into one unified Korea. If only general Kim Yusin would accept that they need help from Tang China to get it done!

About 10 minutes in, right about when the pro-Tang faction in court informed King Chunchu that Kim Yusin had met secretly with a top Gogoryo official, I took my first sip of tea.

"BLECCHHHHHHHH!! BLURRRRRRRRGGG!! What the hell did you put in my tea?!"


"Conditioner? Why did you put conditioner in my tea?? You could have killed me!"

"Nuh-uh" she said, not taking her eyes off the screen. "I read the label and it didn't say anything about being poisonous if ingested. It's science."

That's it. I'm moving to India. Just as soon as I blow dry and style my tongue. I have to say, the conditioner really does make it look soft and shiny.



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