Thought for the Dairy

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with Rabbi Lionel Blue

In a hedonistic age, it is perhaps unsurprising that dairy products are now seen with such frequency. Cream cakes are displayed on television adverts and in shop windows. Ice-creams are paraded on the top of vans. Milk is left on the very step on which we ascend into our own homes.

We have become acclimatised to dairy products. They are all around us, inviting us, tempting us. Perhaps we even have too many dairy products.

But have they brought us happiness?

Everybody is searching for happiness. Happiness is what we seek. A quest, a goal. A never-ending hunt for contentment, fulfilment.

And on one level, perhaps the dash of milk we allow ourselves in each mug of tea gives us a moment of pleasure and makes the tea taste nicer. Nobody denies that crackers taste less dry with a chunk of brie.

But we have not found in dairy products the fulfilling, permanent happiness that we perhaps want to expect. I recall the first time I allowed myself the indulgence of consuming a bowlful of profiteroles, when I was in my mid-40s. “Is that it?” I recall thinking, as I wiped away the last vestiges of cream from my sated lips.

It was only much later in life that I realised we only find the true potential in dairy products when we allow ourselves to digest as much as we ingest.

I have found, for example, that dairy products have played a vital part in keeping my strength up in what has been a rigorous a glittering stage career, particularly with regard to my skills as a tap-dancer. I could not have performed in the number of pantomimes I have managed to do, without some form of digestion where dairy products are concerned.

But ingestion is important too. I recall once on Give Us A Clue being asked to mime the film title Confessions of a Milkman. I responded to this challenge in the way that seemed most appropriate, by dropping my trousers and draining a glass of warm milk. How Sue Pollard interpreted this as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids I have never been sure; perhaps in a Biblical sense she saw milk as very much linked to honey.

We all seek our promised land. I believe, in being a tap-dancing panto-producing personality, I have at least attained a degree of alliteration.

But it is also worth bearing in mind that, whilst a Mini-Milk used to cost a mere ten pence, it is now as expensive as a Cornetto used to be. And it may be my imagination, but it seems that they are even more Mini than ever before.

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