The Highlife for Lowlifes Guide to Cooking: Milk and Cookies

The Highlife for Lowlifes Guide to Cooking: Milk and Cookies

I am a big supporter of the deregulation of raw milk (milk from cows, sheep or goats that has not been pasteurized) products. Raw milk and raw milk products (such as cheeses) are an ancient and time tested sustainable process that most of the modern world is free to enjoy with minimal restrictions and regulations. According to in New York State we can buy raw milk from licensed farms directly with some minor stipulations but mass commercial sales (like at grocery stores) is prohibited.

The harm vs benefit debate on this topic is of course highly contested. Other governmental regulatory bodies in other countries (such as France) allow the sale of raw milk and raw milk cheeses. But here in the US organizations like the FDA and the CDC maintain there are huge dangers to consuming raw milk and strongly recommend no one consume raw milk products.

I personally find this to be dubious at best. With the FDA’s willingness to allow unlabeled genetically modified foods, preservative/chemical rich processed foods and foods treated with bacteria killing chemicals (such as formaldehyde) on the market from corporations and the well documented harmful effects these and other processes have on people’s health, I am at the very least skeptical on the motivations behind the raw milk ban. If I had to make an educated guess at the real bias that faces raw milk it is that raw milk is inherently a small scale locally sourced enterprise. It would (as far as I know or have read) be impossible to provide large reliable quantities of raw milk under the centralized large scale factory farm model that supplies the majority of our food. Raw milk is a product that exclusively supports local farmers and is a totally natural and sustainable farming practice. For these reasons alone I would assume corporate farming interests are strongly opposed to any raw milk production or the competition its de-regulation would create.

At the end of the day, it is and should be a personal choice. The most important thing to me about the value of raw milk is that it tastes better, as do the cheese, butters, yogurts and creams produced from it. There are also arguments that maintain that raw milk contains a higher nutritional content (due to its lack of processing) than pasteurized milk. Further arguments in Europe that children who drink raw milk growing up that it may protect against asthma, allergies and other immune-mediated diseases and increase levels of probiotics in their systems. There is also the ethical debate of natural locally sustainable products vs factory farmed unnaturally processed large scale productions. The debate is endless and I will provide some links below so you can make better form your own opinion on the subject.

I for one really hope we (as a culture) can move past the factory farming model and national government oversight on the foods we choose to consume and start looking at this topic (and other food related topics) from a much more local, regional and sustainable point of view. Some websites to check out raw milk facts are:

Real Raw Milk

Raw Milk Reality

Skeptoid Dangers of Raw Milk

How Stuff Works

Raw vs. Pasteurized 

Part 7 – Proper Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I am not by nature a “sweet tooth” type of person but that being said I do enjoy baking and baked goods from time to time. The general problem I have with most baked treats are that they are FAR too sweet and contain excessive amounts of sugar. Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite cookie and my recipe contains about half the “usual” amount of sugar and double the amount of raisins. Now you can choose to modify this recipe if you like things sweet by doubling the measure of sugar provided, or even experiment with adding some local raw honey. I generally regard baked goods to mostly be seasonal, apple pies in the fall, strawberry tart in the early summer, that sort of thing, when the fruit components are at their best locally but these oatmeal raisin cookies due to the ingredients can be made year round. They are very simple to make/bake and keep quite well for over a week if stored in an airtight container.

You will need:

3 cups old fashion oats (not the quick cooking variety)

2 1/2 cups white flour (organic is best, cake/pastry if possible)

1 1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Splash of vanilla extract

Dash of salt

Splash of vegetable oil

Splash of cream (optional)

1 ½ to 2 cups baking raisins

In a medium size bowl mix the sugars, eggs, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, oil and room temp butter and combine until you have a smooth creamy consistency, set aside.

In a large bowl combine the oats, flour and raisins and combine, then add in the smooth butter/sugar mixture of the medium bowl over the top and combine all together to a thick “batter” (adding a dash of cream at this stage will make your mixture a little smoother and add some extra flavor) then cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and one a greased cookie sheet (or non-stick aluminum foil/baking mat) spoon out the cookie “dough” into pancake shaped portions evenly spaced apart making sure you allow enough space between for the cookies to spread/flatten while baking.

Place the pan(s) in the oven on the middle rack and bake. In my experience cooking time will vary depending on the oven and size of the cookies from between 20-40 min. You really just need to keep an eye on them and judge by the color when they are ready to come out, I usually like them a little dark. Also, you may have to make these in several batches a pan at a time depending on the size of your oven and cookie sheet(s).

Once the cookies are cooked and colored as desired pull them out and let them cook on a raised wire rack until they reach room temperature.


Between Now and Then sharpen your blades and chew the fat:

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J.Nevadomski (also known as Juda) is an accomplished musician and artist from Rochester. He has recorded with musicians from all over the world for his project “The Fragile Path” (which he heads and produces) and is a veteran artist whose paintings have been featured in galleries, newspapers and exhibitions throughout the Rochester area. In 2012 he was the “artist guest of honor” at RocCon: Rochester’s Anime, Sci-Fi and comic book convention. He lives in the NOTA area of Rochester, keeps a yearly urban vegetable garden and regularly cooks and hosts dinner parties for friends and colleagues.