Curdled: (adj) spoiled, soured
They put us up in a barn.
That night, I became convinced that everyone in the world would have hay fever if they found themselves lying on hay. I do believe it’s a proximity issue.
It was chilly. We had just performed at a coffee house. We were hungry.
Our host, feeling magnanimous, had offered his barn for lodging and even allowed us to pull our old van inside, just in case we needed to access our “stuff.”
We finally were able to communicate that we had not eaten.
He and his wife appeared about five minutes later, to our barn layout, holding a carton of milk and a box of cereal.
I mustered the courage to ask for bowls and spoons so we could partake of the cereal. They agreed, even though they were a bit disappointed that they had left something out and we exposed them.
They both ran back to the house and only she returned five minutes later with some old bowls and some spoons. We expressed our appreciation.
We were so thankful for the cereal and milk.
We poured out huge bowls—all the way to the top—and figured out how much milk was in the carton, dividing it evenly among the three bowls waiting to be baptized. We also ended up using exactly the amount of cereal left in the box.
It didn’t matter. We were gonna eat.
Until one of my friends put her spoon in and…spit out the first bite.
Because, she said, the milk was curdled.
(Actually, she used the word “sour.” But since my word today is “curdled,” I’ll go for the original.)
My other friend and I took bites—and she was absolutely right. The milk had long ago lost its vintage.
Sitting in the mostly dark barn with the smell of hay everywhere, with grumbling tummies, we were presented with an interesting dilemma.
Since we had already doused the cereal, there was no way to eat it without the milk. And since the milk was already in the bowls, there was no way to remove it without having tainted flavor on the cereal.
We sat for at least five minutes, just staring at each other, hoping to draw wisdom from our neighbor.
Finally, one of my friends piped up. “I hear that in Denmark they eat their cold cereal with buttermilk.”
We frowned at her. She continued.
“Well, if you think about it, buttermilk is really just spoiled milk that’s been promoted.”
Finishing, she took a big bite of cereal, stating, “Really. The Lucky Charms are so sweet that you can barely taste the curdled milk.”
There were so many things wrong with that statement. But we weren’t going to throw it away, which meant we were certainly going to eat our cereal that night with a Danish flair.