Tuesday, May 29, 2007

eau la leche

I was reading my friend's blog about their baby Elliot Plum Campaign: Opening skirmishes in the life of EJWH: like milk into baby. Brandon had written a piece about Elliot being made entirely of milk. He takes in milk, and from that produces eyelashes and ears, not to mention the orange goo that's expelled. I thought about this and what an interesting idea it was, then I started over analyzing and getting technical. This is an amusing (or annoying) habit I have as a scientist. [Brandon, please don't take this personally, because I really do love your piece]. Technically though, it's a little less amazing. I mean milk consists of the same proteins, carbs, and fats that are available in food and even nonfood items, mixed in with the vitamins, minerals (carefully selected to be more bio-available). The good stuff is just provided in a fluid structure. These nutrients are either consumed as fuel, or rearranged into other proteins, fats, and carbs to make up the various tissues. The whole process is truly amazing, but the fact that the intermediary between my meal of Chicken Korma and cinnamon bears (these are not available in the Northeast! If you visit me from somewhere they are available, boarding fees with me are 5 lbs of cinnamon bears, preferably Sweets) Anyway, the milk is just a small step in the incredible biochemical process of life. OK, it is amazing that the child is made entirely of milk (outside of the womb), but this is such a small part of it that it becomes trivial in comparison. Plants for example are made solely of dirt and air. That's seemingly even further removed from living tissue than milk, which after all is manufactured by living tissue. The whole water into wine is a bit more impressive, if only because water doesn't contain the components of wine, that trick wasn't just rearranging, it took some conjuring.

The comment I have to add is that the new baby smell everyone loves, its milk! All those people out there who go around stealing whiffs from new babies heads (you know who you are), or atleast longing to, are just craving the white stuff! I'm not saying it would satisfy to open up the refrigerator and wave the jug under your schnauze, but if you get desperate, it may just take the edge off.

ps. NPR this morning had an interesting monologue about a perfume and food party, where the perfumes were paired to the food much like wines would normally be. There was some time given to how different smell combinations would combine to make other fragrances, for example vanilla plus clove, plus some other stuff--maybe lemon--blends to give the illusion of coca-cola. Check it: Perfume Dinner Is a Feast for the Nose

1 comment:

  1. sheree, i love the technical exegesis!

    for me, one of the surprise pleasures of breastfeeding was that it brought all the biochemical processes you mention into luminous view: you know about them, of course, but you just sort of take them for granted. making elliot, though, and then helping him make himself with milk, made the creative energy of the world seem so amazing and powerful.

    the plants, though: you're right. that really is amazing.