I was raised on whole, unpasteurized milk from a local farm. A lovely Danish family called the Winkels, raised a small amount of Jersey cows, chickens, and some very famous pigs – you may have seen them at the Saanich Fair or on the Lochside Trail, between Rendels’ and Mitchells’ farms – they are massive! My mom, sister and I would stop in once a week for our full fat jars of fresh milk. My mom would skim the cream and make butter, that I would have on my porridge with my father everyday. She’d also make cottage cheese, which I still find yucky. None of it would go to waste.
(The Winkel’s farm, that hasn’t changed much in 40 years)
When I was fresh out of high school I spent 2 glorious years working for the Aylard Family at Brackenhurst Dairy Farm. I worked my way through almost every job, from moving massive water lines, to milking the herd, to birthing calves. I’d drink from the ice cold holding tanks in the summer and put milk in my coffee directly from the teat. It was the the real deal, and second best job I’ve ever had. The Farmer and his family became family to me. Milk was literally in my bones.
Fast forward 20 years – my then 5 year old daughter, who was breast fed for over 22 months, and then moved to goat milk started to develop sharp pains at night. She described the pain like being stabbed with a knife. As I do, I started to fixate on what she was eating. I cut out gluten and there was a slight improvement but not completely. I moved onto dairy, wholesale, and as if it was a miracle, the pains where gone. No pain, no tears, sleeping through the night – all just magically got better.
She can deal with small amounts of cheese but she has to be careful. Something like a chain pizza place is an absolute no go, but Buffalo Mozzarella from Prima Strata or Nicli, no problem. There is also a very small amount on each slice and its a pure product with limited ingredients.
This lead us to a total dairy free home. Cow’s milk became Almond milk, Cow’s cheese became nut cheese or better yet for me, Nutritional Yeast, and cream sauce with cow’s cream became Cashew Cream.
Nut based products have become our normal. Nuts make up a huge part of our protein and we eat them everyday. We still love the flavour and texture of a great cream sauce and with Cashew Cream we don’t need to go without.
What is exciting for us, as we venture out and about in Vancouver and Victoria, is that Cashew Cream is becoming very, very common. It’s past a phase, or trend, it’s just part of the food fabric of our cities (where we eat at least). So nut cheese and especially cashew cream has become the “non alternative”. It’s not a half measure that always leaves you craving the “real thing”. We make a big batch of cashew cream at a time and use it all week.
Get the Cashew Cream recipe here.
People ask me, what do you use it for other than an alternative to Alfredo. Well, here are just a few that we threw together for you:
Quick Flatbread (made in the Vitamix)
Love cashew cream too? Share your favourite way to use it in the comments below!