My mother ate sour milk.
We didn't have a fridge.
The milk was in the larder.
And sometimes it went sour.
When my brother and I came down to breakfast,
if the milk was sour, we tipped it down the sink.
It was blobby and when it came out of the bottle
it went ker-plup, ker-plup, ker-plup
and dribbly stuff flowed out too.
But it was the smell.
You couldn't put your face over the sink
while the sour milk was coming out.
It was worse than sick.
And it made you want to be sick.
If my mother was there though
she'd say, 'Oh don't throw that away,'
and she poured the sour milk into a bowl
and ate it with a spoon.
It was like she was eating white sick.
My brother and I said,
'Nooooooo! You can't. That's horrible.'
'Mmmm, lovely,' she said
and you could hear her sipping it.
Sip, sip, sip.
She tried to get us to understand.
'You know the nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet,'
she said. 'Curds and whey,' that's what this is,' she said
'We don't care,' we said, 'it's horrible.'
Our dad explained that Mum's grandfather
made yoghurt and something called
'shmatana' and sour milk.
It didn't make it any better.
Why would anyone make sour milk?
When we went to see Mum's mother,
she gave us shmatana.
That was nice.
She didn't try the sour milk on us though.
Just as well.