Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Buttermilk Diaries

When I was in Dubai in 93 I found a little Pakistani vegetarian restaurant called The Golden Flower.  For about 85 cents US they served you all the food you could eat.  I can barely remember what was in the various curries but I do remember a zucchini like squash.  Two kinds of na'an, soft and crispy, dishes of chopped red onion, probably some other things.  As fast as you ate, the waiter would come by with a little rack of pots and refill your dishes.  But what really stood out was the buttermilk that they served to drink.  You had two glasses and two pitchers on the table, one full of cold water and one full of cold buttermilk.  It was heavenly.  Sweet with a bit of a tang, refreshing, absolutely unbelievable.  I'd never had buttermilk before and I was hooked.

A year or so later I'm back in the US, remember the buttermilk and pick some up at the grocery store.  Pour a big glass and ...

... yuck!

That was the end of that love affair.  Buttermilk was for baking.  Chalk it up to the novelty of a different culture.

Until tonight.  I've started listening to Alton Brown's podcast and the episode from July 26, 2013 has a segment on buttermilk.  Turns out that buttermilk used to be very good.  It was the leftovers from making butter and was refreshing and delicious.  Today's buttermilk, on the other hand, is cultured by adding lactic acid bacteria.  This makes it thick and sour.  Not really very drinkable at all.

I wonder if the local dairy makes traditional buttermilk.  I'll have to stop by their store.  And make up some curries to go with it.  Ah, the good kind of flashback.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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