A reader took mild umbrage yesterday over my cryptic comment about “pure, simple” cream, when I mused as to whether it does, or ever has, existed. The implication being that of course it did, back in the good ol’ days, until nasty old dairy companies intervened to ruin the fun for all of us. I’m not so sure. Oh yes, there definitely was/is such a thing as farm cream, fresh from the cow, rich and delicious. What I’m in doubt about is whether there was ever a supply of such a thing available to the masses, that was always fresh-tasting and wholesome, good for everything from whipping to making panna cotta. For you see the great boon of the dairying trade is not only that it makes cream available to people who don’t live on the farm, it provides us with cream that is more or less consistent in flavor, texture and butterfat content whenever we might want it. A cow can’t do that. It has trouble delivering cream that’s “pure” all the time by that standard, though it does deliver cream that’s “simple”. A dairy can be “pure” in the sense of delivering something that’s consistently tasty and useful, but can’t really do “simple”, what with the processes it puts cream through. So you see my quandary in this regard, and why I wonder, just as with so many other the “pure, simple” foods that so many of us food romantics pine for, if they have every really existed at all. Or am I over-thinking this thing?