Buttermilk Banana Shakes

Look, I know buttermilk is sort of having a ‘foodie moment’ right now, that it might be the pork belly of 2012.  There are these buttermilk shakes; the blueberry buttermilk shakes on special at Duck Fat; buttermilk banana bread; a new cookbook devoted entirely to buttermilk; and, of course, buttermilk biscuits which are no passing fad, at least in my corner of the earth.

Truth be told, I take issue with some of these ‘buttermilk-titled’ recipes for the simple fact that they have hardly any buttermilk in them and thus, no buttermilk flavor.  I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to title a recipe after one of the recipe’s ingredients, then I think it should be prominently featured (and tasted).  Because otherwise—well, why don’t I just title every recipe on my blog ‘BACON!’ and add a half-teaspoon of it to everything and well, I fooled you, sucker.

I’ve been thinking about buttermilk ever since reading All the Pretty Horses (a book I didn’t love, but which did make me hungry and which set off a monthslong fling with beans and tortillas).  There is a scene in it towards the end in which the main character shares a meal with an older couple (according to my memory, the guy may or may not have been a preacher), a meal that included cornbread and was accompanied by a glass of buttermilk.  This, in turn, got me thinking about my grandfather who I never met but who is said to have eaten his cornbread thusly: crumbled up and stirred into a glass of buttermilk, scooped out by spoon.

It also got me thinking about how no one ever just drinks buttermilk anymore—no one ever says, “Gee, you know what would go great with this cake?  Some buttermilk.”  And yeah, I know that this is because regular milk is cheaper, and more widely available, and the times they are a’changin, etc.  But still.  Lard is making a comeback, so why not buttermilk?

These shakes are a riff on these, which were a riff on these.  Two ingredients: frozen banana, buttermilk.  If you don’t like the taste of plain buttermilk (pour yourself a half glass and drink it straight, in honor of my grandfather and the guy in All the Pretty Horses) then you probably won’t like this shake, or, at the very least, you’ll want to add some sweetener—honey or maple syrup or agave—to try to mitigate the buttermilk tang.  But I say, embrace it.

Buttermilk Banana Shakes
1 banana, peeled, broken into chunks and frozen
approximately ¾-1 cup buttermilk

Place banana and buttermilk into blender and puree until smooth, adding more buttermilk if needed to reach desired consistency.  Sweeten to taste, if desired.

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