Friday, August 10, 2007

Milk is for calf

Today on BBC news there is an article about milk products demand increase in China's consumer market: a fear in the west that the milk product price will increase because of the high demand, environmental problems generated by the change of pastries to cow farming, and the increasing risk of breast cancer for Chinese women.

I still remember that when I was little, my parents forced us to drink milk every breakfast. I couldn't understand that time why they didn't drink, and we had to. I couldn't enjoy the milk and complained, and every time I would take off the layer on top of the cooled milk and gave it to my parents to eat (I don't like it even now, but I found out that my mother-in-law loves it. People are so different in their taste buds). I also couldn't tolerate the yogurt at the beginning, and my sister liked it a lot.

Later after going to the college, there was no milk for breakfast. I begun to love the Yogurt in Beijing suddenly. A glass bottle of yogurt, 35 cents after returning the bottle, was quite a luxury desert when I was in College. After working, I slowly miss the taste of milk and sometimes bought it for breakfast. And also I started realizing that I was lucky to be brought up in a city where milk was not too much a luxury. Most of my colleagues didn't have milk in their childhood times. We even tasted sour cheese my cousin sister brought back from her trip to South Xinjiang, and I remember nobody liked it.

My hometown is in a province with some milk farms, and we used to be able to drink the milk with cow's body temperature. A person with milk containers on his bike sold milk in the neighborhood in the morning. Later we got a wooden box with a lock downstairs where we should keep two empty plastic bottles there the previous night, and the next morning we would get two full bottles of milk over there. There were people came to deliver in the early morning. Later, the bottles were stopped and milk is just in sealed plastic bags. I remember we would always boil the milk before drinking, all the time we would add a little water at the end to rinse the bottle or the plastic bags.

Do Chinese have the right of taking milk? Of course yes. Although I have no proof to show that my sister and I are stronger than our colleagues who didn't drink milk in their childhood, there is enough evidence showing that milk will help the growth of kids. Chinese is the most health conscious nation in the world. Mr. Awaara always jokes that anything if you make the connection with health, you are able to sell it to Chinese. That is partially true. I would believe if Chinese know that there is a higher breast cancer risk connecting with the consumption of milk products, they will be more cautious in their consumption.

When I was in Providence RI, I came to know my colleague Sokhee and also her eating philosophy. She is originally from South Korea, and now she just becomes an Assistant Professor in Kansas city in US. She first time told me, milk is for the little calf, and I was so much convinced right away. Yes, we are brought up by our mothers' milk, and little calf also need their Mom's milk to grow up. Human beings are the only animal who can think of making cows the machine to produce milk for their own need. It doesn't sound to be right.

Now we are living in a country where milk products are so plenty! We don't totally refuse milk yet. We sometimes buy yogurt, or some kind of cheese we can't even tell what it is. It is more like a curiosity of trying what others are eating. For Chinese, I feel the most important part is that we shouldn't mystify the milk. Any kind of thing if it is excessive, there might be unpredicted side effect. Chinese who are so much caring about their health, will soon realize this.

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