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April 19, 2013

Grazing: During a Crazy Week, Finding Comfort in Cream

When news of the Boston Marathon bombing began trickling in on Monday afternoon, we were in the throes of production at 7D, unable to really tune into the details. Some people seemed silently rattled and distracted, but it was a distraction we had to push aside while we finished up edits and layout and proofing.

When I began to really tune in a few hours later — ingesting images of smoke and blown-off limbs and blood staining the street — it was haunting and horrible yet hard to tear away. Yeah, bombings happen all over the world, practically every single day, but when random violence strikes a place you know well — such as Boylston Street — the line between normalcy and chaos seems paper thin. 

Like a ton of people, I became a news junkie this week, reading stories about the victims and following the addictive Subreddit devoted to finding the bombers. And on this gorgeous, windy day in Vermont, our neighbors a few hours south woke up to stories of even more violence and an eerie lockdown. 

What does this have to do with eating and drinking? It's a tenuous connection, but it's where we often seek solace. Earlier in the week, Garrett Harker  — the owner of Boston's Eastern Standard, on Boylston Street about a mile from the bombings — wrote this account for Bon Appetit. "Nothing Feels Like Marathon Monday," he wrote, describing the shift in energy inside his restaurant after the bombing, and how the kitchen sent grilled cheese sandwiches to marooned runners. Earlier today, Todd Alström, founder of BeerAdvocate, tweeted this:


I don't know anyone who was hurt in the bombings. My food routine this week was pretty normal — some tapas, some wine, my first stab at Chinese-style pork meatballs. But a sense of obsession and sadness underscored each task, and nothing quite tasted good. I did turn to a bottle for comfort, and it wasn't booze. It was kefir. Specifically, maple kefir.

KefirI had planned to write about Butterworks Farm Maple Kefir at some point, as it's omnipresent on my desk and in my car's cup holder. On any given week, I down a few bottles. This week, I drank four, heedlessly imbibing 24 grams of saturated fat (albeit from Jersey Cows), more than a hundred grams of sugar (albeit from maple), and a healthy dose of calories. Pure, wonderful comfort food in liquid form — cool and creamy, white as snow, tangy and a little bit sweet. And even though it's full of imperfect lumps, it's as close to perfect a drink as I can imagine. 

I've never been to Butterworks Farm, where Jack Lazor and his family make this thing I'm addicted to — nor have I met Jack. But I imagine Butterworks Farm as a place of just-greening pasture and flat-bottomed clouds, as far removed from booms and shattered glass as can be.

After 9/11, a few of my friends visited Vermont from New York, wondering out loud about relocating (none of them actually did). Though Monday's event is smaller in scale, I think there will be more Mass plates on the roads this summer than usual. I hope they can get blissfully lost in these hills for a while, and maybe even get something creamy in their cups, too. It's good for the soul.

Photo of Boston by Aaron Tang/

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