In these times of trouble and turmoil, financial crisis and contentious presidential campaigns, it’s nice to know we can always find some humor among the news stories. In this case, we turn once again to PETA, which provides us with some unintended comic relief.
September 23, 2008
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.
Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I’d like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry’s. Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry’s replaced the cow’s milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers — and cows — would reap the benefits.
The breast is best! Won’t you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow’s milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.
Executive Vice President
Naturally, one’s first reaction would be that this must represent nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to bring attention to the fact that PETA thinks giving cow’s milk to humans is evil. But, then again — this is PETA we are talking about, the group who wanted to put up posters saying that giving meat to children is tantamount to child abuse, that hands out comic books to children portraying their mothers as murderers. They are not exactly known for their tact.
And the fact that the Storchen restaurant Reiman refers to in the letter is real makes one believe that the deep thinkers of PETA truly thought this would be a good idea, especially after reading this:
[Owner Hans Locher] claims to have been experimenting privately with various recipes since his daughter was born and to have perfected the use of the ingredient in his cooking, preparing meals such as breast milk soup, breast milk lamb curry, or antelope steak with chantarelle sauce with breast milk and cognac. In all cases the human milk is mixed with whipped cream and makes up at least 75 percent of the sauce.
“The idea first came to me when I noticed that there were many young mothers in our village, some of them single. I thought to myself: why not make use of their potential? I served the meals to my friends without telling them about the new ingredient and the feedback was excellent.”
You could almost see the light bulb going off over Reiman’s head. Hey, if they can do this in a restaurant, they could do it anywhere. They could do it on a mass production level! We can save the cows and let them go back to doing, uh, whatever they were doing before man decided to degrade them by utilizing their resources!
Of course, Reiman did not think her cunning plan all the way through.
First of all, Ben and Jerry’s — a humanitarian company run by two hippies — politely declined. The idea was too out there even for them: “We applaud PETA’s novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother’s milk is best used for her child.”
Reiman also threw the idea out there without thinking of the prohibitive cost of doing such a thing, the logistics, or the marketing nightmare Ben and Jerry’s would face.
How would you promote such a thing? While there might be a million guys out there whose first thought would be to lick their lips and offer to help with the production line, reality will eventually settle in when someone informs them that breast milk doesn’t taste like milk.
Never mind where Ben and Jerry would find enough women who were willing to go through the pain of pumping in order to churn out some Chunky Monkey (eww), but the cartoonish image that runs through my mind — hundreds of women in a big, soulless factory, hooked up to machines that extract milk from them — makes me almost giggle at the absurdity. Sure, that’s what they do to the cows. But they are cows. Unlike PETA, I do not believe that animals are on an equal evolutionary level with humans.
And here’s another problem: How much milk do you think you can get from a lactating woman before you’re stealing her baby’s breakfast? Well, at least there would be one workplace where commenting on a woman’s boobs would not be sexual harassment, but a testament to her productivity.
The real issue here is that it would literally change the face of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Truth in advertising demands that the addition of breast milk be noted right there on the container.
The flavor names, of course, would have to be adjusted.
Peanut Butter D Cup, Chesty Garcia, Gimme S’Mores, New York Super Fun Chunks, Twin Peaks; there’s a million ways you could go with this. Think of the naming possibilities of a new melon-flavored ice cream. They could even put out a pistachio ice cream flavor called Soylent Green Is People.
The possibilities are endless, as are the tasteless jokes involving licking. While the idea of breast milk ice cream is both impractical and unappetizing, at least PETA, albeit unintentionally, gave us all a little laugh just when we need it. Thanks, guys.