I earned a freezer full of breast milk. I earned it *hard.* I let my boobs stay far bigger than I was comfortable with, and wore low-cut, easy-access shirts so that I could provide my little larvae with with world’s most perfect, cheapest, easiest-in-the-middle-of-the-night food. It gave my baby immunity and nutrition and extra snuggles, but it also meant that I was constantly physically tethered to him, in charge of all night time duties and dehydrated past reason for almost a year.
In the midst of all that nursing, there were time where I would give him formula to catch a break, promote bonding with Partner, get myself tipsy, heal my hellish nipples or work an eight hour shift as a nanny with somebody else’s needier kid. I had to pump. The kid ate plenty of it the next day, right out of the fridge, but he didn’t have any kind of nipple or substance confusion, so I didn’t hesitate to freeze a bunch of the liquid gold and let him have the cheapest, most generic formula I could find. He had no problems with it. It worked seemlessly.
So, now that he’s a toddler with no interest in my mammaries or milk, I let him fuss for five min and then I cave in and give him watered-down, green, almost-healthy hippie juice that tastes and smells quite a bit better than the defrosted, sour-if-technically-fine titty cocktail. I’ve got a freezer chock full of breast milk that I can’t donate to a bank because my OB, pediatrician and I decided that my personal dose of an SSRI was safe enough for my baby and I, but nobody else wants it. I open the freezer door and just stare at the bags and bags and bags of energy, time and patience-sucking wholesome substance, just sitting there, getting crystals on top, mocking me with their awesomeness. It has all turned a year old, but I can’t just throw it away. I cannot just drop that kind of effort into a garbage bin. I would cry. It’s liquid gold. At least platinum.
I must, I *must* use it for something! but what???Obviously, breast milk ice cream!!!
From the tangy smell of defrosted breast milk, I suspected that the flavor would be slightly off. Maybe not if I had fresh boob juice instead of frozen, but that ship has sailed. And the texture of breast milk ice cream was likely to be a little off, because traditional udder ice cream is mostly cream, not whole milk, but I am far too busy chasing my ex-suckled toddler to bother skimming cream off of my old boob juice. So I had to pick a flavor that could match with tang and a little bit of icy texture — mint chip it would be.
Assuming that Humphry Slocombe would be appropriately, lovingly horrified by my project, I based my recipe upon several of theirs. And by “based,” I mean I studied their exceptional methods and then botched them to my own satisfaction. The batch that worked best was:
4 cups of defrosted breast milk
2 cups of sugar
5 egg yolks
a big slurp of vanilla
a pinch of salt
a bunch of finely chopped fresh mint
a bunch of finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
* Separate five yolks from their eggs and mix them with two cups of sugar and the pinch of salt.
* Over medium heat on the stove, bring the 4 cups of milk up to a hot enough temperature that you can hardly stand to dip your finger into it, stirring almost constantly. When you don’t want to dip your finger into the hot milk anymore, remove the pot from heat.
* One splosh at a time, add the hot milk to the sugar and yolks, to help temper the eggs. When most of the milk is incorporated, put it all back in the pot and return it to medium heat. Stir constantly as you bring the custard up to a simmer (not a boil).
* In regular udder ice cream, the cream and the yolks will get nice and thick, like pudding, and that’s when you turn the heat off, but I found that with my breast milk (and maybe with whole cow’s milk), it never got super thick. It just got a little bit thicker and I called it a day.
* Let the custard sit, covered in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, perferably over night.
* The next day, pour your custard, with the mint and the chocolate, or whatever flavor you want, into an ice cream maker and follow the maker’s instructions (generally: ice packed around the spinning part with plenty of heavy salt dumped in). Let it spin until it’s nice and thick.
*Consume as much as you’d like immediately and rush the rest into an airtight container in your freezer.
* Do not drive five hours to Thanksgiving without a cooler in the trunk and expect the texture to remain correct. It doesn’t travel well.
I wasn’t completely prepared for who would love or hate the idea of the human iced milk. My Ankle Biter doesn’t love cold stuff, so I knew he wouldn’t be into it. Partner has never, ever been interested in sampling breast milk, which still baffles me, but I expect it. I knew that my crazy, queer, hippie partners in nursing crime would be over the moon for it. I suspected that the same non-parent friends who did shots of my breast milk when thy were drunk, would be equally into the dessert after a few glasses of wine. But I pegged my chef friend wrong.
Now, to be fair, my chef friend — who likes all kinds of strange flavors and foods and meats and is an ice cream expert and has made savory goat’s cheese ice creams — is also gay, so he is one of few people that I will even marginally excuse for “ew”ing anything female. I’ve had to work through my own “ew” issues with my body and with men’s bodies, and oh hell, all bodies in general, so I do begrudge gay men’s un-processed disgust when it sounds a lot like boring old misogyny, but I get it. It’s nice to sound as horrified as possible by body parts that most of society demands adoration of.
Unfortunately, breast milk and nursing is still quite stigmatized in our fine country, so I had a very hard time not defending my off-beat deliciousness and not going off on a long rant about it’s inherently weird that we consume cow milk without being grossed out. is an udder really any less awkward to picture as the source of your nummies? But I stopped myself, not only because he was hosting our messy extended family at his home for the holidays, but because the proposition of anyone’s bodily fluids near one’s mouth can be a very strange proposition. It IS strange that we slurp milk from cows and goats, so I guess it is at least equally strange to offer my own to humans that weren’t responsible for its existence.
Happily, many of my my acquaintances and loved ones are just as into strange and queer experiences as I am. And they will sheepishly, giddily, put this mint chip into their gaping maws.
But I am not going to lie to you. It is a little bit tangy, as I imagine iced goat milk would be, which I am now set on trying in a frozen, sugary form. And the next time I can get my hands/mouth on fresh human milk, … some yogurt ….. and cheese …. and frosting …….