16 September 2009

El Lechero - The Milkman

There is a nice old guy who lives not far from where we do and he has several dairy cows. He milks them twice a day and every morning he rides through the neighborhood on his bicycle balancing two milk cans on the back from which he sells their milk. He has been doing this for many, many years and there are other lecheros (leh-CHER-ohs) or "milkmen" serving Irapuato as well although they are rapidly advancing in age and diminishing in number. Gina and I both have full time jobs so we usually aren't home when the lechero comes around. Today, however, we were home since it is a national holiday and cows don't take holidays so when Gina heard his cry she ran out to buy some fresh whole milk straight from the "vaca" (cow). She bought three liters for eighteen pesos and he dipped it out and poured it into a pot that she provided. We usually pay about twelve pesos for a single liter of milk at the supermarket so this was a good deal. We don't drink it the way it comes from the lechero because it is unpasteurized but Gina boils it and uses it in making things like "flan" (custard), "leche con arroz" (rice pudding) "gelatina" (gelatin), "jocoque" (hoh-KOH-kay), which is yogurt that has been strained to remove the whey, giving it a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese, and "chongos zamoranos" which is sort of like sweet cottage cheese. I took a photo that you can see below to commemorate the transaction. It is another one of those things that will quietly fade into history fairly soon. It is quite nice to buy a product "factory to you" especially when we know that the cow eats nothing but pasture grass and drinks clean water. I guess things don't get much fresher than that. Thank you Señor Lechero and Señora Vaca.


GlorV1 said...

Oh that's interesting. It is a good thing that Gina boils it before using. It's weird because in the olden days they just drank it straight from the cow. Or at least that's what I remember. My dad used to milk a cow and then just have a glass of milk. He never got sick. Enjoy your day off.

Babs said...

Ahh, they come to my neighborhood every morning about 9AM, honking their horn, as they are in a pickup truck. The ladies are standing out there with their ladles and buckets...... They visit with each other and then walk home with their fresh milk.
I love to see this tradition in full play here in San Miguel.

1st Mate said...

They've already passed from our experience here in San Carlos. Must be quite a treat, especially when Gina gets done with it.

YayaOrchid said...

I really like that you'll are supporting these true artisans. And you're right, it is sad that they're old and when they're gone, that's it....no more of the old traditions.

Unknown said...


¿Sabía Ud. su señoría que mi abuelo comía jocoque con chile guajillo y tortilla? Así es, también con la nata que se guardaba, hacían un pastel de naranja de natas, riquísimo si señor.

Saludos cordiales.

Tancho said...

Ah, nothing like fresh milk. It has a better taste and texture than store bought milk for some reason. We have two milk cows and drink it straight without pasteurization, just cold from the fridge. I enjoy it after about 3 hours cooling. But it is fattening. So I limit to about a cup a day, unless it happens to turn up in some flan or cheese. My wife makes a breakfast dish using corn tortillas and milk with a little cinnamon sugar. Can't get much more basic than that!

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

Viva el Lechero! Thank you, Bob for writing this. My suegro, for many, many, many years was one of the most popular lecheros in Yahualica. (My hubby really is "el hijo del lechero"!) My suegra, used to make the best quesos and panelas with any left over milk. Yum! There are still a few lecheros in town. I only buy the fresh stuff when I'm going to make gelatina. We all love the natas for cakes, gorditas and they taste great on a bolillo.

One Small Voz said...

Sadly, there are no lecheros here in the city of Veracruz. Fortunately though, mi suegro travels daily to Cempoala, and bring me back fresh milk! It's soooo much better than the box stuff.

Suzanne said...

We still have a lechero who rides his donkey around the neighborhood ladling out milk. Somewhere on my blog I have a photo of him. He has a funny little run and hop up onto the donkey's back when he's ready to move on, then trots on down the road, which makes me smile every time I see it.

We don't drink milk but the idea of making jocoque or flan is especially appealing. that alone gives me reason to go out with my pot one of these days.


bob cox said...

Bob... it won't go out of existence until the government regulates it out of existence...as has been done in the U.S.
My grandkids love "nata"...the thick cream that accumulates after boiling. when is the last time you saw cream floating on milk in the States??
I think the last time I saw it there was about 1952.
Isnt it wonderful how the goverment "protects" us.

Alice said...

Milk delivery, yeah! But i'm more envious of the grass you have in front of your house :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.