Elsie was my grandma. And she’s also my new Guernsey cow. Sadie and I like old names. If our son had been a girl, he may have been Elsie, too.
Cow names, like a lot of our Puggle Farm names, are names we like, names we feel an affinity for. Names that suit the animal or, at least, our perception of it. Barry is the younger boar. Audrey is the new sow. Mrs Buvelot, Alice and Hettie, are a sow, cow and ewe in that order. The youngest calf is called Herbert (the last one to the cutting shop was Wilbur). Harold is the rooster and Desley is a very noisy Angus.
Elsie’s milk fills the fridge. We have enough to make whole milk ricotta. Enough for yoghurt, butter, and soon I’ll have another crack at making cheese. We are a dairy family, never afraid to use milk in puddings, in custard, in our ice-cream. I’d be like that even if I didn’t have fresh milk on-hand.
The best flavoured milk is unhomogenised. It has more aroma, a better colour, a different mouth feel. The best milk is often from a single herd (rather than multiple herds), so seek out the finest from some of the smaller local dairies near you. And while you’re there, try to source quality cream, yoghurt (one that doesn’t have thickeners or gums), and butter, too. Farmhouse versions of all of them are on the rise. And that’s a really good thing.
Photography Alan Benson
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2013, Issue 26.