I at first thought that the vague wonderment that crossed my mind a few months ago was simply a silly idea that happened to pop into my head for unknown reasons. It crossed my mind that human milk, being no more or less biological and nutritious than the liquid sustenance produced by other forms of mammalian life for their young, could be manipulated in similar ways to manufacture other products. Most specifically I pondered whether or not human milk could be used to make cheese.
Don’t judge me. I had no intentions of acting on my ruminations and was actually a little disturbed that I had ruminated about it in the first place. Still, I happened to mention it to some co-workers. I enjoy the looks on their faces when I spout off randomly about the “bizarre” things I think about. On this particular occasion the ploy backfired and a co-worker, in an attempt to bewilder me as she had been bewildered, alleged to have found online a restaurant that served cheese made from human milk. It seemed perhaps the strange thought I’d had may be more than just the wonderings of a mind bored with the mundane.
I began to look into it a little further and found a few accounts of cheese and even ice cream having been produced from human milk. I didn’t research it enough to be able to confirm that any of these were true accounts. I didn’t read any reviews on taste or texture or any such things as that. All I did was confirm that the thought didn’t originate with me. Afterwards I began to develop some serious concerns.
Let’s assume that there exists a restaurant that serves human cheese. The first concern of such an establishment is to locate a lactating woman willing to sell her milk. Such a request must be extremely meticulously worded, especially in our country’s prevalent politically correct environment. Once such a request is satisfactorily devised and successfully deployed, many more concerns come into play. Chief among these being how do you compensate someone for such an odd and certainly uncomfortable endeavor. When the issue of pay is settled, many strictly culinary concerns come into play. How many years must be devoted to discovering how the diet of the woman providing the milk affects the taste of the cheese? What wine pairs well with it? How much makes up a serving? Is it a small dab on the side of a main course or is it in itself a dish? How much time and money are you willing to spend to answer these questions?
Then we get to the human aspect of it. Many people like knowing where their food comes from. Many restaurants use locally produced meat and vegetables and this goes a long way in building trust between eating establishments and eaters concerned about the quality of food they’re served. Would this not be much more the case when their food is made from a human by-product? How is this accomplished? Would the woman providing the milk be required to include her medical records with the menu? Would she personally greet those that had ordered her dish and inquire as to whether or not they are enjoying her cheese? And what diner wouldn’t experience some discomfort when confronted with such an inquiry?
I suppose an easier way to go about it would be to get a research grant and then develop some sort of human cheese in a spray canister. All personal aspects are thereby removed from the end recipient making it more likely that a higher number of people will try the product. Milk would also be easier to come by, I assume. It seems to me a woman might be more willing to donate some milk for science than to make a career of milking herself for a restaurant.
I bid you adieu…and a don’t.
Adieu…be adventurous when you eat…to an extent you are comfortable with.
A don’t…get a research grant. Please. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was my way of ridiculing the idea of using human milk for anything other than it’s intended purpose of nourishing babies.