Judge John Hodgman Episode 85: Ipso Lacto

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For Thanksgiving week, this episode is all about the ENJOYMENT of FOOD.

Angela brings the case against her good friend Justin. Justin actively avoids dairy, claiming to HATE cheese, butter, and cream. Angela is irritated by the avoidance, alleges that Justin has consumed and enjoyed dairy in the past, and thinks he should own up. Who is right in this food fight? Only one man can decide!

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As John Lennon said...

All we are saying is give cheese a chance.

The Chemical Hypothesis

When Justin said that he doesn't like when dairy tastes "yellow" we all feared for his neurological health. But there may be a scientific explanation.

Different dairy products, cultured in different ways, naturally contain varying concentrations of a molecule called diacetyl. Diacetyl has a rich, butterscotchy, aroma and flavor that some people love and that a few, like me, do not like. It is very strong in Chobani yogurt, cultured european sweet butter, and microwave popcorn. It is almost totally absent in things like mozzarella and fresh milk.

Justin may like dairy products low in diacetyl, like salted butter or mozzarella. Gourmands highly prize that rich diacetyl flavor. I don't really taste it in cheeses, which have very complex mixtures of amino acids, fungi, salt, and so on that mask the butteriness, but I bet it is present in things like parmesan and Justin may be more sensitive to it than I.

I propose an experiment: present Justin with Chobani yogurt and buttermilk, on one hand, and fresh cream and salted butter on the other. If he recoils from the former and not the latter, the culprit is diacetyl.

Synthetic diacetyl is added to microwave popcorn, and it has recently been linked to respiratory disease and possibly other problems at high concentrations: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/guidance/diacetyl-guidance.html

An appeal should be granted

The reasoning for JJH's contempt of court ruling should be overturned. As Angela repeated several times, she was NOT bringing the case that the court should force Justin to like something he does not, but rather to force him to admit that he in fact DOES like cheese and butter and cream (as CLEARLY evidenced in the proceedings) and to stop lying to himself and others.

MOZZARELLA IS CHEESE.

HALF AND HALF IS CHEESE.

BUTTERY PIE CRUSTS AND BUTTERY POTATOES CONTAIN BUTTER.

JUSTIN, YOU LIKE ALL THESE THINGS.

STOP SAYING YOU DON'T.

True Justice for Justin

I really feel for Angela. Friends like Justin are attention-seeking, self-absorbed drama queens (that's the meanest thing I've ever typed on the interwebs, sorry Justin). At least he didn't claim to be "lactose intolerant". I think Judge Hodgman's ruling was fair that Angela not secretly put ingredients in her recipes that she knows he's going to eat but I would have gone a step further and declared that she not alter her cooking in anyway. If Justin asks just tell him 'yes, there is a whole stick of butter in that pie crust' or 'yes, I used butter and cream in those delicious mashed potatoes' and see what he'll eat then. Revenge is best served with cheese.

I ODed on cheese once.

It was American. I was a young child. I probably ate three quarters of a sliced pound of the cheese. Then washed it down with a glass of milk. I started to feel sick and soon the milk and cheese all reappeared in a white, chunky, watery mess.
That put me off American cheese for life. Unless I mask the taste with something else I can't eat it without feeling sick.
The End.

Manchego rules!

Manchego! Manchegoooooooo!

King of Blue Cheese

The Judge commented that Stilton is perhaps the king of blue cheese, but I would like to posit that based on historical references, Roquefort is the true king of blue cheese, and perhaps all cheese. [ref]