My new friend, The Chemist.

After many suggestions from numerous students, I finally contacted the chemistry departments at a couple of local Universities.  Despite mentally outlawing any degree that required I take chemistry in college 21 years ago, I have become a kitchen scientist.

A dangerous kitchen scientist.

I can wield a ph meter with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily calibrated.  I can use oft-sought after twisty finger hand gestures to describe the process of rennet interacting with protein in warmed milk.  I can relate information regarding the FDA ruling on the make up of vinegar.  And I can tell you what to do and not to do with your whey – for example, don’t feed the ENTIRE bowl of whey to your dog unless you’re willing to spend the afternoon cleaning up diarrhea off the garage floor.

But, I had never talked to an honest to goodness scientist about these topics.

So, early this week, I called Colorado College’s Chemistry Department and emailed the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chemistry Department.

Tish,  I got your name and email from the UCCS website.  My name is Lindsey Aparicio and I teach goat milking and cheese making classes on the west side of Colorado Springs.  For the past few years, I have had an interest in seeing what is happening at a microscopic level in the goat milk I am using to make the various cheeses I teach.  Many of my students have suggested I contact chemistry departments at the local universities to find out if there is a need for a research project to be completed…by the entire class or just by individual students.  Would you please contact me and/or forward this email to the professors you think most appropriate to discuss this mutually beneficial opportunity?

Lo and Behold, Jarred Bultema, PhD, assistant professor in the UCCS Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry Department, responded: 70 minutes after my initial email.  Incredible response time.  (Between you and me, I expected either no response or a response in a week.  I’ll have to raise my expectations.)

IMG_8452 Jarred Bultema

Jarred taught me a number of things.  Here are two:

1.  The proteins in milk are in made in the cytoplasm of the cells and come out like “pearl necklaces.”  They quickly spiral and wrap up into little ball-like clusters.  And this, despite my desire, will not be visible to me through a microscope.

2.  People with lactose intolerance who can drink raw cow (or goat milk) are indeed lactose intolerant although both pasteurized and raw milks contain lactose.  The raw milk, having not been pasteurized, still contains the beneficial bacteria which contain enzymes that chop up the milk sugars (lactose) and in effect send them into your system already partially “digested,” therefore allowing your digestive tract to handle them appropriately.

After over an hour of stimulating discussion, I left with an increased awareness and an email inbox full of incredible sciencey articles that I can’t wait to read.  Seriously.  I’m into that stuff.  And, without actually calling Jarred a horse – that would be rude – I did mention that I appreciated getting information on milk right from the horses mouth.

The Goat Cheese Lady

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About The Goat Cheese Lady

I am Lindsey. At first I was a city girl. Then I was an urban farmgirl, attempting to balance city and farm life. Now, after moving to the country, I have embarked on life as a rural farmgirl, complete with my husband, the Animal Whisperer, man of exceptional knowledge and patience, two boys who are louder than my sister and I ever were, a herd of milking goats, and a flock of egg-laying chickens. Coyotes, mice, country dogs and prairie dogs are frequent visitors. Just 45 minutes north is Colorado Springs, the setting for our first six years in the goat world. Our family. Our city friends. Our introduction to cheesemaking. But we...and our growing farm and soon-to-be creamery...have set up shop down off of Highway 115 in Penrose, Colorado.
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One Response to My new friend, The Chemist.

  1. Ann Cott says:

    WOW – great article – and cute guy too. You are such a smart young lady.

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