I have been made aware of a pronunciation difficulty recently. It has caused me to consider my feelings about the subject of that struggle: milk, which I apparently pronounce as melk. Well, after getting a series of coupons for something called “ultra-filtered” milk, my feelings have never been clearer.
Let me be clear: Dairy is part of my daily life. I have started doing this thing called “breakfast,” which involves eating yogurt as I make my coffee in the morning. When I drink coffee purely as a vehicle for caffeine (an important distinction from my morning cup), I will sometimes get it with cream. Increasingly, I blend whole milk with peanut butter and protein powder as part of a misguided attempt at something that they tell me is called fitness.
So yeah, Big Cow gets my money—and that’s not even counting all the other ways dairy sneaks into my routine, like the 2 for $5 deal I got on Ben & Jerry’s…coming back from the gym this week (d’oh). But again: Fuck this milk moment we are in.
When it comes to this particular beverage, there seem to be two schools of thought: less milky milk, and more milky milk.
The aforementioned “ultra-filtered” stuff, which makes me want to indulge in a bit of the old ultraviolence, falls into the less milky category, along with almond milk, soy milk, and all the other non-milk milks. The idea seems to be to retain the essential nutrients of milk (protein, calcium, other minerals) while getting rid of the things that health-conscious folks are less keen on, like lactose and fat.
Well, guess what makes milk milk? Lactose and fat, you dummies.
You may point out that folks can suffer from varying degrees of lactose intolerance and might want or even need an alternative. Here’s a news flash: We’re all a little lactose-intolerant. Why is that? You, me, and that ass of a neighbor all happen to be mammals.
Milk is an extraordinary substance that us mammals get from our mothers for sustenance in the earlier stages of our development. But then your body doesn’t need milk anymore. We can eat and drink other shit because we have developed a robust GI tract. Yet we continue buying into Big Cow’s idea that milk is a vital part of life, potentially to the detriment of your bowels.
Then there’s more milky milk. Not only are people figuratively—and literally—dying for raw milk, but there’s also a renewed interest in the milk of other mammals, like goats and sheep. Admittedly, having a nice cheese board with dairy products from different mammals is lovely, but I’m not trying to drink cheese.
Furthermore, there is a reason Louis Pasteur is a celebrated historical figure. Last time I checked, bacteria love warmth and moisture. Without the consumer protection of pasteurization, raw milk has the bacteria market pretty well cornered. By all means, give it a try. Hopefully you’ll be able to tell me about it afterward…actually, please don’t try it. If the CDC says you may get listeria and die, I don’t want to be in any way responsible.
I’m very fortunate in that I have choices in how I decide to use my coupons (or not), but I know not everyone is as lucky. For those people, maybe good old whole milk is the best way to get their household the calcium and protein they need. And maybe someone in their household is genuinely lactose-intolerant and needs an inexpensive milk alternative. Unfortunately, your gentrified dairy case is potentially pricing them out of something they need. Actually, that reminds me: I should probably update that statement I made way back at the beginning of this piece.