Pre-children, we never used a lot of milk in our house; Buzz has always been mildly lactose intolerant, so it was only used for the occasional recipe. Now, though, the two kids get plenty of milk every day (yes, I’ve fallen for the Dairy Council’s message that MILK BUILDS BONES). The local health-and-organic grocery store has milk in actual glass bottles from a organic, no-hormone Virginia dairy. You can return the bottles for a deposit (and should, since it’s a $2 deposit), and it’s just a seriously awesome way to buy milk. The bottles are just cool.
Unfortunately, the milk occasionally has a tendency to go off before the expiration date, far more than any other brand of milk I’ve ever bought. The store is always quite nice about it and exchanges for a fresh bottle with no questions asked, and it’s (kinda) on the way home so it isn’t extremely inconvenient. Tonight, we opened a bottle that allegedly had 3 days to go, and noticed it was sour… and Buzz decided, “Hey, people used to cook with this stuff, that would make it a Retro Recipe ingredient, right?”
Well… he’s right, but I’m not feeding it to the kids until he eats it with no ill effects.
See those chunks on the glass? That’s how you know it’s, uh, “good” for this recipe, originally from The Pioneer Cook Book.
Mrs. Ethington’s Old-Fashioned Muffins
2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 1/2 cups sour milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted shortening
1 well-beaten egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Pour sour milk over oatmeal; allow to stand a few hours or overnight. Combine sugar, shortening and egg; add to oatmeal mixture. Sift together remaining dry ingredients; blend. Bake in greased or paper-lined muffin tins at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.
After soaking up sour milk overnight, the oats had become a very solid mass. It broke up without too much trouble when stirred into the other ingredients, but it was interesting getting it out of the bowl.
The muffins themselves were good — a little on the bland side, though, so use a whole 1 teaspoon of salt instead of the 1/2 the recipe calls for. They are certainly hearty, and probably good for you with all that oatmeal goodness.
I’ll give it 24 hours before I feel really comfortable stating that the sour milk wasn’t a bad idea, though. Buttermilk would give the same tang (which wasn’t really obvious in the end product), and unspoiled milk should taste just as good — why use the spoiled stuff when there are alternatives? (Unless you happen to write a weird blog chronicling your occasional attempts to poison your family, of course, in which case go nuts.)