Whoa……… We’re 1/3 of the way there! Woh- oh, living dairy free! (It makes more sense if you hum Bon Jovi’s Living on A Prayer in your head when you read it)
I did have a cheat day at a fabulous wedding but other than that I’ve been totally on the wagon. And it hasn’t been that hard. Also, I’m not working right now so it’s quite easy to avoid the temptation of birthday cakes and morning teas. Granted I haven’t really been eating out very much (except for Japanese) because butter, cheese, cream, and milk as it turns out are quite popular food ingredients for MANY MANY cuisines.
I haven’t been completely anal about it but I have tried to use common sense- risotto- and many Italian dishes often have cheese sprinkled on top or through it so that’s out unless I make it at home, dessert is out– because well, chocolate has milk in it, even some Mexican is out because- well cheese and sour cream. But — don’t despair! All is not lost.
As I mentioned earlier, Japanese food is MADE for this challenge! Actually, unlike the gluten free challenge (most soy sauce has gluten in it) Asian food is absolutely perfect for dairy free living. I asked Uncle Google ‘why there is no cheese in Chinese cuisine ?’ and as it turns out, I’m not the first person to notice the trend. Believe it or not, there are entire forums and over 10 pages of Google Search results on exactly ‘why there is no cheese in Chinese cuisine?’ If you don’t believe me, here’s a link to one of them!
Apparently the answer is that in some Asian countries- especially China and Southeast Asia, the climate wasn’t suitable to cattle herding or farming thus they didn’t do it. Over time, because they didn’t have dairy and cow based products in their diet, they developed lactose intolerance. Since they didn’t enjoy eating milk based products, they didn’t cook with dairy based products (seems pretty obvious to me!) and so, naturally traditional Asian foods don’t include a lot of milk, cheese, or yoghurt based products. Even today, cheese apparently isn’t widely eaten or popular in China- this article from Slate tells the story of a Westerner doing a cheese tasting in China.
There’s only one flaw that I have in this whole theory of traditional Asian Cuisine not including dairy or herding cattle– why is their Beef in most Asian Cuisines????