Twenty year old blue carpet

I walked into a university classroom about five minutes early for a public lecture. I found a seat in the back and plunked down into a creaky armchair. The room was nearly full of students, many of whom had removed their shoes and were wiggling their toes into the well-worn speckled blue carpet. I kept my sneakers on.

Twenty years of students' feet on a blue carpet smells like caramel made with goat milk

The overhead fluorescent lights gave me a headache so I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths to relax. The air carried a distinctly sweet aroma, similar to a candy shop, but not quite that heavy with sugar. It was also layered with funk.

It brought to mind a time when I lived on a remote part of the the Big Island of Hawaii. I had goats, and I drank goat milk. I often had more milk than I knew what to do with. So I traded it for fish or fruit. One afternoon I was craving something sweet so I decided to make caramel candy with goat milk. It’s easy enough over a burner. But it’s not something I would ever make again. The gaminess of goat milk utterly clashes with cooked sugar, rendering the candy pretty much inedible, unless you’re out in the middle of nowhere with a raging sweet tooth, which I was. After eating a few pieces of the goat milk caramel the sugar high kicked in, and I polished off the whole pan.

But at the end of the lecture, I could still smell all those years of sweaty teenage feet in the carpet.

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  1. Sue Thomas says:

    I’m curious about the “gaminess” aspect of goat milk. I remember having goat milk some time in my childhood, and not liking it, but don’t remember why.
    The funny thing is, I really like goat cheese.
    I do notice a difference in both the flavor and odor of “regular” cow milk (any fat percentage) vs. organic or lactose-reduced or -free. Somehow the latter taste and smell fresher.


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