In her book, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, Laurie Colwin devotes an entire essay to the wonders of British cream.
How did I not read this woman’s writing before? When my friend Janet shoved the book into my hands, I was hungry, I ate it up, and it hit the spot like a good baked mac and cheese.
Laurie Colwin died the year I entered high school, but she is one of those writers who puts herself right there on your couch, or better yet, in your kitchen. I think that personal essays might be one of the most accurate ways to achieve immortality; people just keep meeting you over and over again.
As I read this essay on cream, and the uselessness of American cream, and about how she asked a friend to bring back some double cream from the UK and it leaked all over everything but she got most of the bottle anyway, I started to think a bit obsessively on British cream.
I’ve never been to the UK, but my love of tea and scones reveals my genealogy. Her descriptions of the taste, the texture, the uses! It was almost cruel- to invoke so much desire towards an unattainable substance. Oh Laurie! I cried. Why do you torture me so?
This morning I was doing the Wednesday morning raw milk run. I am one of about fifty families belonging to a raw milk club, and in exchange for my copious amounts of milk, I go to the farm once a week and bring the milk to the pick up spot. So there I am, laboriously labeling each top of the glass milk bottles with the sell by date, and in walks Paul Paisley, the farmer who gives his heart and to the twelve cows who, in turn give us their milk.
“Hey, Alana.” he speaks softly over my shoulder. (if you’re reading this out loud, note that he’s British).
“Hi Paul.” (still laboriously dating the milk)
“I’ve got a jar of double spun cream in there for you.”
Thank you Laurie. I don’t know how you made it happen, but I am forever in your debt.