Monday, January 26, 2009


Karine and I are infrequent milk drinkers. Here's the reason why. If I were a caveman I could see myself hunting down a cow with a big stick and eating it. But I can't see myself sneaking up on a cow to latch on to its udders with my lips. Could you see yourself doing that? Meat is one thing. Totally reasonable. But mamarary secretions?

In my paranoid twenties I thought the idea of of drinking animal milk products was a giant conspiracy foisted on complacent consumers by the sinister dairy industry. More recently milk has seemed like a rather strange and unnatural source of nutrition. But that was before I discovered horchata.

Horchata gives people who don't drink milk a reason to start. It is very popular here in Honduras. I drink bottled horchata at school, home, the movies, resurants, and at the gas station. Sometimes I even drink it while I am riding my bicycle!

But my favorite horchata is what I make at home. Start with two tablespoons of Don Julio's Horchata mix in a tall glass. Add milk and cubed ice, stir with a bendy straw, and finish with a napkin sweater. I use Leyde milk. Its the best milk we have found in La Ceiba. Its easy to find because its the only brand that has a cow with blonde hair on the package.

It tastes like almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's just about the best flavor that's ever hit your lips. I am a very satisfied customer. Every single time.


Live Simply Love Strongly said...

I agree about the idea that we "need" cow's milk to be healthy is one that the dairy industry had been trying to sell to us. Human milk is for baby humans and cows milk is for baby cows. That being said, if I want to eat something made from milk, I do. I really like ice cream and cheese. But I have stopped drinking big glasses of milk with meals like I used to do when I was a kid. Many cultures don't drink milk. Actually, I learned that because of one of the vitamins in milk (I think it's the phospherus) that it actually has a negative effect on calcium absorbtion. The WHO recommends that nondairy eating people get 500mg of calcium daily and those who eat dairy, 1000mg!

Anonymous said...

More importantly, the napkin sweater is brilliant Tom...absolutely brilliant.

Karine and Tom said...

A napkin sweater is the fastest way I know to turn a simple beverage into a fancy beverage. To get to extremely fancy, add hazelnuts.

Guifarro Family said...

This needs to be a comercial, while in honduras i tried the lovely blond cow and it it fantastic.! love the post

Honduras Sprout said...

I loved this post too. Really cute. I didn't know horchata was made with milk. Well, I suppose. I do like milk regardless of all the conspiracy.

I think traditionally horchata is made with soaked rice "milk" and peanuts and lots of other spices. many flavors, but I think I would like dairy milk kind best too.

Anonymous said...

"Sprout," you are right: horchata is not usually made with milk. It's just rice, water, sugar, toasted morro seeds (or roasted peanuts), cinnamon, and some lemon peel. I forget whether Don Julio's mix happens to include the seeds/peanuts or not, but many of the store-bought mixes don't, so they're more like some types of Mexican horchata instead of Honduran.

As for the milk: I restrict my buying of fresh milk to litres instead of half gallons or gallons, since I had too many times when milk that I bought (WELL before the expiry date) in Mega or CeibeƱo (now "Paiz") was bad, even when I tasted it right in the checkout line. Otherwise, the most consistently good milk in La Ceiba is the powdered milk from Ancho, Dos Pinos or Milex. They are excellent, and actually much better than the old "Carnation" powdered milk with which more Americans are familiar.