Her nurturing, love, and creativity live in these pages.
GAETANA PENZAVECCHIA OKAS,
whose New World approach to
Old World cooking was ahead of its time.
who gave me life and made me look to the stars.
How Each Sign Eats, Cooks, and Entertains
Holiday Celebrations and Feasts
Universal Conversion Chart
About the Authors
About the Publisher
LONG BEFORE ANY NATIONS OR EVEN HUNTER-GATHERER TRIBES EVOLVED, OUR BODIES WERE IMPRINTED WITH THE MANTRA “WHAT’S TO EAT?”
Are you looking to find epicurean as well as spiritual satisfaction? Do you want to make meals not only a time of communion with family and friends but also an opportunity to deepen your understanding of your appetite and how it connects you to the cycle of the seasons and thus to nature and the very universe itself? If you’d like to know more about how cosmic influences work in the realm of food and how each of the signs prefers to eat and cook, then this book is for you. Signs and Seasons is all about an astrological approach to cooking and eating, one which emphasizes both sensual nourishment and psychic satisfaction.
Long before any nations or even hunter-gatherer tribes evolved, our bodies were imprinted with the mantra “What’s to eat?” On the physical level, our appetites are at the root of our being. Our need for food is the most basic thing about us. Within every human being there is an emptiness, an implacable vacuum that becomes increasingly insistent after mere hours of not eating.
And as humans, our sensual, social, and spiritual needs coexist with our biological needs. Besides being a necessity, food is undeniably the most consistent and reliable pleasure we have. Food has a social function. It’s a means for contact between people. Certainly, one of the best things about a good meal is sharing the experience with others. And eating food is a sacrament. As a living instance of the mystery of matter becoming energy, a meal is communion with the spirit.
As the cosmic wheels turn, the energies particular to each astrological Zodiac sign are at play in some way or at some time in all our lives. The basic premise of astrology is that the position of the sun at the moment of your birth makes you part of a Zodiac sign like Aries, Taurus, etc. Astrologers believe each sign is inclined to perceive the world and act upon it in very specific ways, overlaid with their individual predilections, genetic imperatives, and experiences. Astrology, as we see it, is a kind of psychological language. The signs add their unique flavor to the planets (the word planet is derived from the Greek word for “wanderer”) as they move through the narrow band of space we call the Zodiac. The sun in one’s chart represents the ego; the moon, emotional intelligence; Mercury, the logical mind; Venus, that to which one is attracted; Mars, the energy available to one’s ego to fulfill its goals; Jupiter, how one grows when things are going well; Saturn, how one grows when things require discipline, limits, and focus; and the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto represent generational influences that both unite and separate.
This human-centered approach to astrology informs every page of Signs and Seasons. It can help us better understand ourselves as individuals, help us balance our appetites, reduce conflict and stress about food, and increase pleasure, happiness, gratitude, love for others, and awe for the mystery of creation.
Astrology has been around for thousands of years, and its popularity proves, if not its accuracy and efficacy as a predictor of human traits and even events, then at least that there must be something to this intriguing theory. Observing the order of the heavens, the corresponding seasonal order on earth, and the regularity of the biological processes of plants and animals that depend on this order, is it not logical to assume that a similar comprehensible arrangement exists within the seeming chaos of our psyches, that our inner lives, our tastes and desires, are part of a naturally regulated process? And if our personality (essentially what we like and dislike) and our behavior are tied to the astrological position of the sun, then our tastes and appetites are also somewhat predetermined by these heavenly influences.
The spirit is nourished through the senses. To truly enjoy ourselves, we must be satisfied in our thoughts, emotions, senses, and imaginings. And to gain such satisfaction, we must give everything, our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls, to the pursuit. For the self-aware, if it’s good to you, it’s good for you. When the stomach is full, the mind is con
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Abbinamenti in base allo iodato: alcuni esempi
Abbinamenti in base all’affumicatura: alcuni esempi
Persistenza e intensità gusto-olfattiva
• La valutazione del cibo: analisi e sintesi
Premessa alla scheda descrittiva del cibo
Capitolo 8 La degustazione del vino
• L’analisi visiva
Fluidità (o viscosità) e archetti
• L’analisi orto-olfattiva
Qualità (franchezza, finezza, personalità)
• L’analisi gusto e retro-olfattiva
Morbidezza e rotondità
Sapidità e mineralità
Intensità e persistenza
Armonia ed equilibrio
Struttura, corpo, rotondità
• La valutazione del vino: analisi e sintesi
Premessa alla scheda descrittiva del vino
Parte terza L’allenamento dei nostri sensi
Capitolo 9 La palestra dei sensi
• Conoscere e allenare i nostri sensi
• Primo gruppo
Esercitazione 1 – La percezione gustativa e gusto-olfattiva (il dolce)
Esercitazione 2 – La percezione gustativa e gusto-olfattiva (il salato)
Esercitazione 3 – La percezione gustativa e gusto-olfattiva (il dolce, il salato e l’acido)
Esercitazione 4 – Le mappe della lingua
Esercitazione 5 – I tempi di percezione dei gusti
Esercitazione 6 – Il condizionamento della vista nella valutazione olfattiva e gusto-olfattiva
Esercitazione 7 – La sequenza dei cibi e dei vini secondo l’intensità di sapore e la persistenza aromatica (PAI)
• Secondo gruppo
Esercitazione 1 – Il riconoscimento del sapore degli sciroppi di frutta rossa
Esercitazione 2 – Conoscere e riconoscere le erbe aromatiche
Esercitazione 3 – Conoscere e riconoscere le spezie
• Terzo gruppo
Esercitazione 1 – Limpidezza, colore e viscosità dei vini bianchi passiti
Esercitazione 2 – Effervescenza nei vini bianchi
Esercitazione 3 – Profumi dei vini aromatici
Esercitazione 4 – Percezione gusto-olfattiva e persistenza dei formaggi erborinati
Esercitazione 5 – Percezione gusto-olfattiva delle mele
• Quarto gruppo
Esercitazione 1 – Abbinamenti di formaggi e vini
Esercitazione 2 – Abbinamenti di salumi e vini
Esercitazione 3 – Abbinamenti di prodotti affumicati e vini
Esercitazione 4 – Abbinamenti di dolci e vini
Esercitazione 5 – Abbinamenti di dolci al cioccolato e vini
Esercitazione 6 – Abbinamenti con il criterio di territorio
Appendice 1 Le schede di valutazione dell’abbinamento
• Importanza e limiti delle schede di valutazione
• Presentazione delle principali schede di valutazione
Il metodo Bernardo – Enrico Bernardo
Il metodo Vaccarini – Giuseppe Vaccarini
Il metodo Piccinardi – Antonio Piccinardi
Il metodo Mercadini – Pietro Mercadini
Il metodo Sicheri – Giuseppe Sicheri
Il metodo FISAR – La FISAR
Appendice 2 Scegliere i vini in base al menu
Appendice 3 Piatti e bicchieri nell’abbinamento cibo-vino
Indice delle ricette
Informazioni sul Libro
L’abbinamento cibo-vino può apparire un argomento che appassioni persone raffinate, cultori che amano disquisire su ogni dettaglio dell’enogastronomia o professionisti del settore.
L’esperienza quotidiana ci indica come il cibo e il vino abbiano un legame profondo e antichissimo; il loro legame è duplice perché il vino è un compagno abituale a tavola, ma è anche un ingrediente importante in cucina. Impossibile elencare tutte le ricette in cui il vino rappresenta un elemento indispensabile alla realizzazione di piatti che spaziano dall’antipasto al dolce. La presenza del vino a tavola e il suo accostamento al cibo risalgono alle grandi civiltà del passato. Basti citare l’ultima cena descritta nel Vangelo, dove il pane e il vino sono indicati come il mezzo di comunicazione dell’uomo con Dio, o il banchetto greco sempre seguito dalla libagione simposiale, o il pranzo romano ove non mancavano le numerose libagioni.
Percorrere la storia di questo duplice legame del “vino nel cibo” e “del vino in accostamento al cibo” è di grande interesse e ci permette di conoscere come i modi e i significati di quest’abbinamento siano cambiati nel corso dei secoli facendone un argomento non di mera erudizione, ma di grande interesse culturale. Per questa ragione, nella parte iniziale di questo testo si è voluto trattare questo tema anche dal punto di vista storico.
Negli ultimi due secoli, da quando la borghesia nascente ha preso il sopravvento sulla nobiltà (penso alla Rivoluzione francese), l’abbinamento fra cibo e vino si è trasformato da un semplice segno di prestigio e di potere a un elemento di piacere personale suggerito dai propri sensi, un’occasione di godimento quasi edonistico. Parallelamente, soprattutto dal secolo scors
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two, making mealtimes much easier to plan. I also tried to make it as simple as possible so that everything is served up together, with a time plan for each recipe so you can sail through the instructions and end up with a delicious dish in superfast time. I have put my heart and soul into this book and hope it helps you to serve up fast, fresh and delicious meals every day.
A few handy tips on the recipes
+ All preparation and cooking times are estimates, so check and taste things as they cook.
+ Always wash rice thoroughly before use.
+ I find it best to have all the ingredients and equipment ready before you start cooking, so everything is easy to get when you need it.
+ These recipes have all been tested a minimum of four times, and they have been written so that everything is ready at the same time. So if you follow the method to the letter you will have quick and tasty meals ready in flash.
+ Some recipes have a start-to-finish time so you know roughly how long it will take from the moment you start cooking to when you finish.
+ Other recipes are split between preparation time and cooking/baking time. So the prep time is the hands-on time and the rest of the time while the dish is in the oven is free time!
+ Some recipes are superfast and others have an element to them that is faster than the usual way of prepping or cooking the dish.
+ The equipment list is not exhaustive but a guide to the main pieces of kitchen equipment you will need to prepare the dish. Everyday smaller utensils required are not included in the list.
+ If you have any cooking questions, please do Tweet me @lorrainepascale. I receive lots of Tweets and cannot guarantee to answer every one, but I will do my best!
Canapés + cocktails
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
I would love to profess that friends drop by unexpectedly, so I have to rustle something up quickly for an impromptu feast, but the reality is that never really happens. What does tend to happen is that, in true Lorraine Pascale style, I am always rushing around, slightly disorganized and with the clock ticking away, having known for weeks that some people are coming round and always leaving it to the very last minute to get everything together! These simple canapés (and of course cocktails) are the perfect solution to this modern-day madness of rush, rush, rush. So easy to prepare and supertasty too, with that ever-important “wow” factor on the plate.
Quick-cook canapé crostini
These really easy canapés have saved the day, not only when (in the very rare event) people drop by my house unannounced, but also when I fancy a quick snack in the evening. It is great to get creative with these: see what is in your cupboard and fridge, throw some ingredients together and experiment! I have used the oven to crisp up the crostini, but they can be put in the toaster or under the broiler to get the same effect. If you crisp them up first, they won’t need as much time to cook.
Time from start to finish: 20 minutes
Equipment: Large baking sheet, 3 small bowls
1 French baguette
Extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
Tomato, basil & mint
2 large ripe tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Small handful of fresh basil and mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of sugar (optional)
White bean, prosciutto & arugula
4 oz canned (½ cup) cannellini beans
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 slices of prosciutto
Small handful of wild arugula
Goat cheese, figs & mint with balsamic drizzle
4 oz soft goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 fresh figs
Small handful of small fresh mint leaves
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
1 squeeze or dab of honey
+ Preheat the oven to 375°F.
+ Trim the ends off the baguette and cut it into 24 diagonal slices, about ¾ inch thick. Place on a large baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for 7–8 minutes.
+ In the meantime, prepare the toppings.
+ For the tomato one, roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a small bowl. Drizzle a little oil over, rip up the basil and mint leaves and add them along with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Toss everything together.
+ Then, for the white bean topping, put the cannellini beans in a small bowl, add a good drizzle of oil, season with salt and pepper and then mash roughly with a fork. Cut the slices of prosciutto in quarters.
+ Finally, for the goat cheese crostini, mash the goat cheese with a fork in a small bowl and season, then cut the figs into eighths.
+ Remove the crostini from the oven. They should be just crisp. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut edge all over their tops.
+ Now, to assemble, simply spoon the tomato mixture onto eight of the crostini. Arrange the arugula on eight more,
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he offset spatula down each side of the cake. When working on the sides of the cake, be careful to scrape off only the excess frosting and not remove any of the actual cake. You want to preserve the shape of the cake, so be especially careful with the corners.
When all the decorations have been removed, add a new layer of fresh frosting—using a store-bought variety or one of the homemade ones on this page—according to the instructions for the particular cake you are making.
tip Fix a saggy corner by building it up with an extra amount of buttercream. Apply the frosting to the corner and, using the backside of an offset spatula, smooth the side walls to make them even. Then smooth over the top of the corner.
trimming a cake board
All purchased cakes come on cake boards. We suggest that you trim the included cake board and then put the cake—and its board—on a new one, for a few reasons: For one, the cake boards found at baking supply or craft stores are more attractive than the boards that come with the cake. Also, the included board is usually not big enough or strong enough to properly support the cakes in this book. And, you won’t be able to lift the cake off the board without potentially damaging it, so trimming the board now keeps your cake intact.
Pull the cake board just over the edge of your counter until the side of the cake is in line with the edge. Holding the board with one hand, and a chef’s or serrated knife with the other hand, cut flush around the perimeter of the cake with a sawing motion. If it is easier, you can use scissors to trim the board. Repeat on all sides of the cake. Attach the cake and board to a new cake board with glue.
tip When stirring frosting, use a rubber spatula instead of a whisk to avoid introducing air into the frosting, creating unwanted bubbles. Aim to use the amount of frosting called for and no more. Sometimes beginners will use too much frosting, so try to frost lightly.
All the beautiful designs on top of these cakes need a great foundation. The frosting technique separates a skilled cake decorator from an amateur. Make sure to use the frosting sparingly and apply it to the cake with an offset spatula in smooth, long, even strokes. Short and choppy strokes will produce a frosting that looks messy and bumpy.
Start by crumb-coating the cake. A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that is applied to the cake with an offset spatula; it adheres to the crumbs and provides a clean surface for the final layer of frosting. Think of it as a primer before your main coat of frosting. Once the crumb coat is applied, allow it to firm up in the refrigerator before frosting the cake. Your second coat of frosting will be crumb-free and much smoother than if you had applied one coat alone.
After you apply your final coat of frosting, it is important to take the time to smooth it out using a small offset spatula. Simply run your offset spatula under hot water, give it a shake to remove the excess water, and while the spatula is still warm, carefully smooth the frosting. Remember to use even, long strokes to glide over the frosting. Repeat this procedure after each final coat of frosting for the best appearance.
using a zip-top plastic bag for piping frosting: A zip-top plastic bag is easier to use and more cost-effective than a pastry piping bag. Have a box of zip-top plastic bags on hand as you work through the recipes. We prefer the quart-size bags, because they can hold a good amount of frosting and still leave space at the top. Fill them with frosting as needed and cut the tip with scissors to create a variety of frosting decorations.
To fill the zip-top plastic bag, put the bottom of the bag in your hand and fold the top down over your wrist until about half of the bag covers your hand and forms a cup [photo 1]. Using a rubber spatula, spoon the frosting into the cup of your hand, scraping the spatula against the side of the bag as you fill it [photo 2]. Lift up the edges of the bag, squeezing the frosting down into the corner while you press out any excess air. Seal the bag. Once the bag is sealed, hold the bag and cut the tip with scissors according to the recipe instructions [photo 3].
piping: Once the zip-top plastic bags have been filled with frosting, you can begin piping on the cakes. There are different ways to hold these bags depending on whether the piped lines run side-to-side or up and down.
To pipe lines running up and down, cup the bag with your thumb on the bottom side and your forefinger on the top, squeezing the frosting by applying pressure to the top of the bag. Using your other hand, place a finger on the bottom side near the tip of the bag to guide the frosting and steady the hand while piping.
For lines running side-to-side, cup the bag with your palm facing outwards and gently
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per pound. Increase that time to 35–40 minutes per pound when the bird is stuffed.
All Americans are familiar with turkey. These large birds weigh 10–24 pounds and are usually served at Thanksgiving. But they are a great choice for other times of the year, and turkey parts, especially the tenderloin, can make a quick and delicious meal.
Duck isn’t a meat commonly consumed in this country. The meat is very fatty, and cooking it involves removing fat that renders in the heat. Ducks are very strongly flavored, and are usually served with a citrus sauce.
• A Cornish hen, or Cornish game hen, is a cross between a Cornish and White Rock or Plymouth Rock chicken.
• They are very small, less than 2 pounds apiece. Figure 1 bird per serving. They are tender and juicy, as they are usually only 5–6 weeks old.
• A poussin is the British name for what Americans consider a Cornish game hen.
• The poussin, however, is much smaller, about half the age and half the size of the Cornish hen.
Game birds include partridge, pheasant, and quail. These birds have quite a strong flavor, which is aptly described as ”gamey.” This flavor is bold and earthy. Brining the birds can help reduce this intense flavor. When you serve these birds, be sure to read any instructions that come with the bird and follow cooking directions carefully each time.
• Duck is usually roasted or braised. Roasting helps remove the fat and makes a crisp skin.
• Braising makes the duck tender and helps mute the strong gamey flavor of the duck.
• Duck meat is much darker than the meat from other birds. It pairs well with red wine, port, spices, and rich fruits.
• To help remove the fat, steam the duck to melt it before roasting or braising.
All of These birds are usually sold frozen. You must thaw them carefully, according to the package directions. Never thaw at room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator or under cold running water. You can cook your turkey frozen; see the chapter on turkey.
• Game birds are usually special order, unless you have a hunter in the family.
• Because the birds are strongly flavored, they are usually cooked with ingredients like oranges, onions, figs, and root vegetables.
• Be careful to remove any buckshot or birdshot if the bird you are preparing is wild.
• These birds are often lower in fat than farm-raised birds, so they need added fat, like bacon or butter, for flavor.
HERBS & SPICES
Fresh or dried herbs and spices can turn your chicken into a feast
Because chicken is so mildly flavored, it can be paired with every herb and spice on the planet. The addition of some chopped parsley can transform chicken and dumplings, while curry powder makes a fabulous Tandoori Chicken, and hot chile peppers turn grilled chicken into a Tex-Mex feast.
Herbs are the edible leaves of plants. They include rosemary, chervil, oregano, thyme, basil, savory, sage, tarragon, bay, dill, lavender, fennel, marjoram, mint, parsley, cilantro, and verbena. These herbs are available fresh or dried.
Nutmeg with Grater
• For the most intense flavor, use whole spices and grind or grate them yourself.
• Microplane graters are great for this type of use. You can find nutmeg graters that come in a jar that holds the whole nutmeg.
• A mortar and pestle can be used to grind spices; break them up first with your hands.
• Or you can use a spice grinder or a small coffee grinder, used only for grinding spices.
When substituting dried herbs for fresh, or vice-versa, remember that 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped or minced herbs is equal to 1 teaspoon dried herbs.
You can give dried herbs more flavor by crushing them between your fingertips before adding to the recipe. Chopping dried herbs together with fresh herbs like parsley can also enhance the flavor.
• Ground spices you buy already ground will lose flavor after a few months.
• Smell the spices. If you don’t jump back from the strength of the aroma, discard the spice and buy new.
• Curry powder is made of a blend of spices, including cinnamon, pepper, saffron, coriander, cumin, ginger, mace, and garlic.
• You can make your own spice blends. Make your own curry powder or chili powder.
Spices, which are the roots, berries, seeds, and bark of plants, include cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, allspice, bay leaf, cloves, paprika, nutmeg, cumin, mustard, saffron, and pepper. Seeds include sesame seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, and dill. Curry powder and chili powder are spice blends, not individual spices.
Some spices improve when they are heated. Curry powder, for instance, is enhanced when it is cooked.
• You can buy kits for growing herbs on a windowsill. Most herbs require direct sunlight.
• You can create your own windowsill herb garden. Use small pots, pick a good di
s? No worries! Serve up one of the DTOUR Dozen as a side or dessert for a low-calorie dose of one (or more) of the Fat-Fighting 4—and enjoy your meal guilt free!
♦ They taste great. Let’s face it: No matter how healthy and appealing a food is, you’re not likely to eat it if you don’t like it. That’s why the DTOUR recipes and menus build on ingredients that hit the spot for flavor and satisfaction. That these same ingredients also help with weight loss and blood sugar control is just gravy.
Because the DTOUR Dozen do come up in the ingredient lists fairly often, they help save money on meal preparation, especially if you’re able to buy in bulk. So be sure to reserve a place for these foods in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. You’ll discover so many different and delicious ways of preparing them that you’ll never grow tired of them—promise!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains lists of foods that are the best sources of various nutrients. If you were to glance at the roster of high-fiber foods, you’d quickly draw a couple of conclusions about beans. Number one, they tend to be excellent sources of fiber. Number two, they come in all shapes and sizes: There are navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, and white beans. Kidney beans and lima beans. Garbanzo beans—the beans so nice they’re named twice (you might know them as chickpeas). Beans that are baked and beans that are refried. And all of them are fiber powerhouses.
As you’ll remember from Chapter 1, fiber earned its place among the Fat-Fighting 4 because of its exemplary ability to enhance satiety—meaning you feel full on less food, so you take in fewer calories—and to prevent postmeal spikes in blood sugar. And beans are a convenient, tasty way to bump up your fiber intake. Just ½ cup of black beans delivers more than 7 grams of fiber, which is about one-quarter of the 25 to 30 grams that we recommend on DTOUR. Other kinds of beans provide even more fiber per serving.
Beyond fiber, beans pack a decent amount of calcium, another of the Fat-Fighting 4. In ½ cup of white beans, you’ll get almost 100 milligrams of calcium, while ½ cup of cooked soybeans—also called edamame—supplies 130 milligrams. So one serving of either bean would satisfy about 10 percent of DTOUR’s daily requirement for calcium, which is 1,200 milligrams.
Beans are an excellent source of protein, which your body uses for all kinds of things. Unlike other proteins common in the American diet, such as red meat, beans are very low in saturated fat—the kind of fat that can contribute to clogged arteries and heart disease. Consider that ½ cup of soybeans provides 11 grams of protein and about 0.5 gram of saturated fat, compared with 1 cup of canned beef stew that contains the same amount of protein but more than 5 grams of saturated fat (not to mention an entire day’s worth of sodium).
“I’m a very busy person, so it’s very easy to fall into the habit of grabbing whatever is quick to eat. Now we’re sitting down at the table and eating and talking with each other. My daughter was home for the weekend, and she had dinner with us. She said ‘This is good—it isn’t a diet! ‘ “
Lost 20 pounds and 6½ inches on DTOUR
Perhaps not surprisingly, research has shown that eating beans every day for just a few weeks may help lower your cholesterol. And since they break down relatively slowly, they’re great for keeping your blood sugar on an even keel.
As impressed as we are with their nutritional profile, what we really love about beans is how adaptable they are. You can toss them into hot soups or cold salads. You can mash them into refried beans (which are surprisingly low in saturated fat, despite their name) or hummus. You can buy them precooked for convenience or dry for cost savings. And they come in such a wide variety that you could conceivably eat beans every day for a week (or more) and not have the same kind twice.
Serving size: ½ cup cooked
For best use: If you can’t spare the time for the lengthy soaking and cooking that dry beans require, then stick with canned. The only caveat is that the liquid in which the beans are packed is high in sodium, so be sure to rinse and drain them before using them.
If you’re not accustomed to eating beans, then introduce them to your diet gradually. Taking in all that extra fiber at once could trigger gas and bloating. Give your digestive system a chance to adjust, and it should handle the beans just fine.
2 DAIRY FOODS
♦ Vitamin D
If we had a national animal, it might very well be the cow, because we sure love our dairy foods. In 2007, the average American ate nearly 33 pounds of cheese and bought 21 gallons of milk. Food manufacturers, meanwhile, fed our desire for dairy by chur