This has definitely been a hot chocolate winter in our house. The cold weather, along with head and chest colds, have us on a microwave record of heating milk. We have a simple recipe: one cup of whole milk from the dairy heated in the microwave for 1.25 minutes, 3 teaspoons of Nesquik and a dollop of Reddi-Wip topping.
    Production of dairy products is important to me, but consumption of dairy products is more enjoyable. My wife and I would both be dead if butterfat was truly bad for us. deb puts butter in hot dish and on pizza, along with using it on all the usual things. My favorite is spreading butter on buns before putting on a hot dog, barbecue or burger. I also fry an egg in butter every morning on top of buttered toast, of course. Hot vegetables are always drowning in butter; it even makes broccoli bearable.
    Ice cream at our house is hit and miss. Sometimes one of us craves it and buys a certain flavor, and at times we eat very little other than at Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner involves anywhere from 10-15 grandkids present depending on the day, along with the eight parents. We consistently use two small tubs of ice cream. I do the ice cream scooping and most of those eight boys come back for seconds. Dairy Queen ice cream cakes are also a big hit on Aaron’s birthday. Aaron is a son-in-law, who happens to share a birthday with my wife and my now deceased mother-in-law. That birthday is June 1, the kickoff to June Dairy Month, so what better way to celebrate than a DQ ice cream cake?
    I am constantly ordering cases of cheese sticks from the AMPl cheese store for our big family. The moms tell me a cheese stick is a perfect snack for any kid as it’s healthy, quick, the right serving size, and above all, not messy. I think cheese sticks are OK, but a little salty. Just give me a thick slice of Colby Jack. deb likes Pepper Jack so much that I’ve even seen her melt Pepper Jack on a fried egg. Lately, she started making grilled cheese sandwiches using a slice of American with Monterey Jack melted together, which makes a great grilled cheese.
    deb is now into drinking a little kefir, but I think it tastes weird. The label on it says it supports the immune system and balances digestive health. What do those statements really mean? Maybe it counteracts all the butter we eat; I don’t know.
    Pizza is supposed to be the food of choice during the Super Bowl, but I came home from a small party at Tae’s house, and we didn’t have pizza. That’s fine. I have pizza at least once a week somewhere. I like how pizza makers are blending more and more kinds of cheese on their pizzas. There can never be too much tomato sauce or cheese on a pizza.
    Now that the Super Bowl is over, it’s still plenty cold out to have hot chocolate tonight, but I can’t wait for summer, baseball and a cold glass of milk.
    Vander Kooi operates a 1,800-cow, 4,500 acre farm with his son, Joe, and daughter-in-law, Rita, near Worthington, Minn. Send him feedback at Follow him on Instagram, @davevanderkooi.