In the US, it is fairly safe to assume that the milk you get in the store is from a cow, unless otherwise labeled. In fact, we have been conditioned to think that cows are the only real source of milk, and that milk from other animals such as goats is strange and exotic. The exact opposite is true in India. Unless marked on the package, you are almost certainly not getting cow milk. The most likely source of milk in India is the lowly Water Buffalo.
But wait! Before you say “YUCK”, let me share some research that I did on the subject. According to my sources, Buffalo milk has lower cholesterol, higher protein, and more important minerals and nutrients. It is thicker, smoother and whiter, and better suited for making yogurts and some types of cheeses. It is not inferior to cow’s milk in the least.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen water buffalo roaming the streets all over the place here. I’ve watched them casually grazing on garbage, pooping on the medians, and sleeping in the middle of traffic. They are big, dirty, and rather sickly looking for the most part. I must admit, the thought of drinking their milk or eating their meat is rather unappealing.
This is where the Golden Cow shines its heavenly light on the subject. The stores are stocked with various little bags of milk. There are 2 choices as far as fat content…”regular” or “full cream milk”, which I am assuming is more like whole milk. You can buy the regular from the water buffalo, or look for the “Golden Cow” on the package and know it comes from good ol’ Bessie. For the most part, we opt for Bessie. However, Bessie is often sold out (other expats? Less demand therefore less availablity?) so we will buy the regular stuff in a pinch.
To me, it really doesn’t matter. Right or wrong, I don’t drink milk in any form. I didn’t in the US and I don’t here. Addie is the only one who drinks it, and she drinks it by the “bagfull”. She never says a word about any differences between cow and water buffalo milk, she is just glad to have it.
When we get the bags home, we pour them into this nifty little pitcher. It’s just right for Addie to pour by herself, and I feel a lot less wasteful using the little bags instead of the large plastic gallons. It took us a few tries to perfect the art of pouring it in the pitcher and not all over the counter, but we finally have it under control. We learned the hard way that it holds 2 1/2 bags of milk, not 3.
And I have to admit, I love the name “Golden Cow”. I picture a majestic cow, shining radient beams of light, smiling sweetly, lovingly winking your way, gladly supplying the world with her nutritious, life-giving drink. Thank you, oh sweet, omnipotent jersey and your bovine brethren!