Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated somewhere near the Black Sea. Marco Polo drank it moments before stealing spaghetti from the Chinese. It is prepared by inoculating milk with kefir grains. If you don’t have a goat hide bag and the intestinal flora of a sheep handy you can make your own using a jar.
The other day I came home from Lucy’s place carrying a jar of kefir that originated with Lucy’s sister Jodie. I named it Wallace after David Foster Wallace. Since then I have been a fretting new parent- unsure of what to feed Wallace, how often, and how much. So I thought I would ask Jodie Lawson. This morning I interviewed Jodie and am a better parent for it…
DLT: Where did you get your kefir grains from?
JL: My grandmother used to make it in the 70s/80s so it came from her via an aunt and then my mother.
DLT: Does that mean that your kefir grains are older than you?
JL: Yes. Also, apparently my aunt forgot about hers for 2 years at the back of her fridge, re-hydrated them, and they were as good as new. They are very hardy.
DLT: Like the 4000 year old lentil (see wikipedia: oldest viable seed) . So why do you drink kefir?
JL: It’s reputed to be good for digestion, partly because of the good bacteria in it, and also because the lactose content is greatly reduced by the fermentation.It’s much cheaper than organic yoghurt.I like the taste, it”s sort of sour and creamy and goes really well with sweet fruit and cereal.
DLT: How does it work? Do you have to feed it every day or can you be a bit like Eninem’s mother in 8 Mile and kind of feed it every now and then…
JL: You can be border-line abusive. If you don’t feel like making a batch you can leave it in your fridge in water or milk for weeks, totally ignore it.
Making kefir is easy: you have a tablespoon or 2 of grains, which look like little cauliflowers, cover them in a couple of cups of full-cream milk, and leave them for 24 hours to ferment somewhere dark and not too hot. It helps to give them a little shake. Then just strain them, drink the liquid, use the grains to make another batch.
Some hippies online use soy milk and almond milk although I don’t advocate such practises.
DLT: What would happen if I fed mine a chocolate big m? Would it be a problem child?
JL: A big M might create a monster.
DLT: Your sister made me an excellent smoothie with just kefir and strawberries. What do you use your kefir for? Do you ever cook with it?
JL: Mostly I have it on cereal or porridge in the mornings. Sometimes I use it as a substitute for buttermilk in cooking. It’s good in muffins and pancakes.
DLT: My final question is. Next month you are going to Europe. Who are you going to get to babysit your kefir or are you going to smuggle it back to whence it came?
JL: That worries me. Also, it grows quite fast if you use it fairly constantly, and I have twice as much than I actually need. I can’t bring myself to throw any away, it’s like a little pet. I might just leave it at the back of my fridge like my aunt, hope for the best.
DLT: Godspeed you ferment empress godspeed
JL: Cheerio! x
 I made this up