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picky eaters: 
et the  
ilk Out. 
by Erika Baumgartner.

Around here, milk allergies are as common as SUVís. My housemate can't eat anything bovine (including beef): Cows make her sprout red blotches on her face and cough. My lactose-intolerant sister suffers stomachaches and bad moods after ingestion of anything milky, and a couple of my good friends simply don't do dairy. I love to cook, and I hate it when my buds are in a bad mood because they donít feel well or are left out of the gustatory fun. So what have I done?  Learned to cook without the milk.

Most of the time this doesnít present much of a problem. Iím not big into creamy sauces or crŤme brulťe, and definitely donít pour melted butter over everything I cook. Pizzaís pretty good without the cheese, or with goat cheese (chevre) substituted for mozzarella. I often make Mexican and put it on the table in a do-it-yourself spread, so my dairy-free friends can avoid the cheese and sour cream. And sorbet for dessert is the best, especially mango.

But when it comes down to baked goods, be they store bought or homemade, itís easy to run into problems. Bread? Much of it contains milk or butter or that ever-deceptive whey. Waffles? Forget it. Muffins? Dream on! Milk-free muffins taste like rocks! Right? Wrong! A couple of quick substitutions and your lactose-intolerant friends will be purring.

So whatís the secret? There are a few, and theyíre not really all that tricky. Their names are olive oil, vegetable oil, soymilk, and margarine. Soymilk (either regular or low fat, but make sure you buy the unflavored kind) can be substituted one-for-one for milk. The same is true for margarine: many of us grew up baking with margarine or vegetable oil instead of butter or animal fat. I tend to use olive oil instead of another fat in bread, a vegetable oil like canola oil in cakes, and corn or soy margarine in recipes like muffins where the batter asks for solid fat.

The most difficult part is paying attention to the texture of your batter and to the baking time. It might take a few tries to get it right. Iíve found that soymilk makes baking times a bit longer, but the bonus is that itís harder to burn things. This is convenient when, like me, youíre easily distracted. Iíd much rather cook a floppy waffle a little longer than crunch through a blackened fossil. . Check out a few recipes that will get you cooking, milk-free: 

Good Old Bread

Waffles for Two

Muffins Muffins Muffins


If you looked for Erika Baumgartner, you'd find her somewhere along the coast of California, trying to figure out who and what has lived in San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura during the past seventy million years. You can send clues to <ebaumga@excite.com>.

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