My next statement has nothing to back it up. There are no facts I can reference. There are no studies. I didn’t even go out and randomly interview people for their opinion. With that in mind, here is my bold, out-on-a-limb, potentially controversial declaration. When Americans think of a farm animal, they think of the cow.
For all those who may think of a chicken, sheep, or hog, my apologies. I just have to believe that the vast majority of us think of a cow. The animal is so popular as a farm animal that its made its way into advertising, expressions, and popular culture.
Now, let’s travel to Asia and ask the same question. Again, I have no polls or data to back this up, but I believe the answer would be “water buffalo.” If I’m correct about this, I wonder if the water buffalo is as big a part of Asian popular culture as our cow. Would an Asian Chick-fil-A feature a water buffalo holding a poorly written sign? Would the old Batman series have Robin saying, “Holy Water Buffalo, Batman”? Would rude children say, “don’t have a water buffalo, man”?
Regardless of its popular culture status, the domesticated water buffalo is possibly more important as livestock to Asian cultures than the cow is to us due to its versatility. It is used for transportation, farming, as meat, and for dairy.
Since one of its uses is as a dairy animal, I was curious if anyone has used the milk to make ice cream. The answer is a resounding yes. You don’t even need to travel to Asia to get it. You will, however, need to visit Canada. The Monforte Dairy in Stratford, Ontario proudly offers ice cream made with water buffalo milk at their dairy. It’s also gaining favor in Great Britain and parts of Europe.
Even if it gives the cow a run for its money, I can never imagine the water buffalo adorning billboards imploring people to eat mor chikin.