Friday, May 18, 2012

Goats, teats, and cheese

   I milked a goat this week.  I've always loved goat cheese.  It has a delightfully creamy texture that I liked to spread on Wheat Thins and devour.  I would buy it at Kroger and it would come perfectly, cleanly packaged. Now, I will probably think twice when (or if) I buy goat cheese again.
   Before going to Kate's, I didn't expect that I would have been so freaked out about milking a goat.  However, in the end, I think it was a combination of the appearance of the goat and the word "teat."  Needless to say, I waited until the very end to take my turn.  
   We brought the goat out and it stepped up onto this little contraption that held it's neck while we did the milking.  The first thing I thought of was what they used to put people in before they beheaded them- the guillotine.
   Once we were told to make this a "pleasant experience" for the goat by feeding it treats, I felt much better.  But there were still the "teats" to deal with. Ew I hate that word.  And the appearance of them is not much better.  I don't know what I thought a "teat" full of milk would look like, but it wasn't what I expected.  They were these huge black bulges that just wobbled between the goat's legs as she tried to walk. We had to sanitize the "teats" with a wipe and rub her belly so the loose hair would fall off. Barf.  I guess we didn't get all of the loose hair off because there were some stragglers in our bucket.  Although we did end up pouring the milk through a cheese cloth to strain it, I was thoroughly grossed out.  Something about warm milk and hair, together, turned my stomach.  
   In the end, I surprisingly ate the cheese we made from the goat's milk. It didn't taste much different than the cheese I buy at Kroger, but the process was clearly different.  The whole experience really just made me realize how disconnected I am from what goes into making the food I buy so cleanly packaged at the grocery store.  Making goat cheese the natural way did not feel natural to me.   Basically, animals in nature are not so clean and perfect, therefore the process of turning them into food is not so clean and perfect.  

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