On July 7th, Mark Bittman wrote an op-ed piece that divulged the source of his (note, the word, ‘his’) chronic heartburn and stomach pain – dairy.
He goes on to discuss dairy’s (almost) institutionalized presence in the western diet and how, maybe (just maybe), we really don’t need dairy products (or as much as the USDA recommends) for strong bones and a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
Any guess what the overwhelming majority of NYtimes reader’s felt about Mr. Bittman’s Got Milk? Piece?
People were worked UP. Readers all across the US (and abroad) blasted Bittman for passing judgment on all the dairy ingesters/digesters, for misconstruing ‘scientific’ data, for being a weasel (see Huffington response to Bittman’s post) for being unsupportive of all the local/organic/coop farmers in New England and for denying people all over the world the right to consume dairy products.
Why? Why was the response so negative? And in some cases, violent?
There is a warm, enveloping, comforting association most Americans have with milk. For many of us, drinking milk with any meal is just as American as apple pie. If you were to ask most Americans on the street what food item is essential for developing strong bones and proper growth, my guess is most would respond with, “Milk. Milk. Milk.”
It’s the source of so much pleasure for many Americans (think ice cream and cheese). Milk can be found in the refrigerators of many young, American households as thousands of infants across the U.S. switch from formula/breast milk to drinking cow’s milk by the end of year 1.
How can anything so good and so good for you actually be bad?
Mark Bittman didn’t pass judgment on anyone. He simply explained that as it turns out, dairy is a very bad thing for him and that MAYBE, when we consider other ailments (like osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancers etc), we might consider taking a closer look at our diet (specifically dairy in his post) before we head towards the pharmacy (Bittman apparently has had his fair share of Tums and Prevacid to combat acid reflux and heartburn).
In my personal opinion, the response was unfortunate and for some readers, a lost opportunity to seriously consider the possible pros AND cons of dairy in the diet. Sure, the title of his op-ed piece is controversial, however, his article does have a decent point – we might not NEED milk as much as we (and the USDA) think (furthermore, WANTING to drink milk is completely different from really NEEDING to drink milk). As Bittman says, ‘there’s nothing un-American’ about considering and reevaluating currents ways of living, thinking and acting. It’s the constant questioning, investigating and thoughtfulness that leads to improved lives and livelihood.
In the spirit of re-considering dairy, I eliminated dairy from this Blueberry Dutch Pancake recipe and to be very honest the results are phenomenal. These pancakes are ever so slightly custard-y in the middle, while golden brown and puffed on the circumference. The addition of lemon zest enhances the sweet summer blueberries that readily explode in your mouth. Pour over some delicious maple syrup and powdered sugar while you enjoy this delectable, pancake-y concoction sans milk.
Blueberry Dutch Pancakes
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup of rice milk (or another substitute)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ up of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup of fresh blueberries
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and pre-heat a cast iron pan.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the eggs, 2 tablespoons of oil and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth (however, do not over-mix).
Once the cast iron skillet is hot, add the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil and make sure that the entire bottom (and some of the sides) is well oiled. Quickly add the batter. Turn off heat and add the blueberries. Immediately put batter in the top rack of oven.
After 25-27 minutes, or until the top is puffed and golden brown, remove and add a dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy hot, with maple syrup!