Monday, 26 April 2010

Grumpy Young Women Abroad: Got milk?

Grumpy in America

So I am in the land of the free. The nation that claims democracy as its best friend. Liberty as its foundation and freedom of speech its God-given right. Well, that’s all well and good. But this idealised state of existence, I assure you, goes right out of the window when it comes to milk.

I am a citizen of Britain, therefore my fuel is tea. It’s my staple; it’s what I live on. Without it I become a wizened husk of a human – stark mad and foaming at the mouth. Whenever I travel I either take my own teabags or spend the holiday in a state of tormented despair. This time I took a risk and relied on the American love of all things British, in particular tea. They even had a party for it, right?

Anyway, I tracked down the golden brew and proceeded to empty the required pack of sugar, and then I looked at the range of milk on offer. That’s right, not just milk, but a range. So, what do we have here, I muttered to myself? Something called “2%”, something called “half half”, something called “skimmed” and, of course, the nut/water mush they call “soya milk”. Erm, so where’s the milk? I had to ask.

Where’s the milk?
It’s there.
Yes, but none of that is actually milk.
Whaddya mean?
I just want normal milk.
For your tea?
We got lemon.
I’m British, I take milk.
Right, well there’s the milk.
Yes, but none of that is normal. For example, what is “half half”?
Half cream, half full-fat milk
OK, well where is the whole milk?
What’s whole milk?
“Full fat” to you.
We don’t do that.
Right, I’ll take half half then.

Cue my look of amazement as I dump the fatty concoction into my tea.

Seriously, the madness when it comes to milk consumption. Why is normal milk so taboo? You can get milk laden with cream but not just ordinary, from the udder, milk.


And it’s not just our dear friends across the pond who cannot let people enjoy whole milk. Oh, no. We have it too. The number of times I am in a coffee shop and hear someone ask for a “skinny” coffee beggars belief. Have I missed something here? Because, in my world, unique as that may be, drinking watered-down milk in coffee is not going to render you a size zero EVER. And giving a drink the suffix “skinny” is not going to render you a size zero EVER.

If you are going to spend a ridiculous sum of money on a hot drink then you may as well do it properly and go all out. Why deny yourself the creamy pleasure that milk provides? I promise you all that drinking a – gasp! – full-fat latte does not mean that you will wake up in the morning 10 stone heavier. It just means that you won’t sound like a complete pillock as you don’t have to say “skinny” before the product name. It’s just a latte. No skinny, no bull shit.

It’s a free country, right? So let’s embrace our liberty and enjoy milk that isn’t just greyish water or half coronary-inducing milk or a random percentile milk. Let’s have it just as the cow intended: from a bottle saying “whole”. Read more by Naomi.