The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

MILK MINUTIAE
euromilk
I've never been much of a milk fan. Didn't care a whole lot for it as a kid [NOTE: I've since discovered, after a chat with my mother, that as a baby I couldn't get enough of the white stuff, to the point where the doctor told Mom to force-feed me baby food. I guess I got my fill of milk before my first birthday, then.], and though I drank enough of it, I probably didn't as much as my peers did (probably why I peaked at five-foot-ten). Nowadays, I can go months without ever buying a carton for my fridge, and if I don't drink it at home, I'm sure as shoot not going to drink it outside the house.

However, I've embarked, sort of, on a new diet. It involves eating a cup of pure-cut oat/wheat bran (the stuff is incredibly cheap, like 60 cents a pound at the healthfood store) accompanied by a cup of milk. You're supposed to eat it every day; if nothing else, it provides you with mucho roughage.

Problem: The idea of drinking milk, even in a cereal-like serving like this, doesn't appeal much to me. What typically happens is that I'll buy a half-gallon, and barely get halfway through it before I've reached or surpassed the expiration date. So then, I feel like I've been ripped off for having to dispose of the now-spoiled milk (when actually, I've ripped myself off). That's part of what I don't like about milk anyway: You can't keep the stuff for any considerable length of time.

I mentioned this at work, and a coworker recommended I try Parmalat super-homogenized milk to solve the spoilage problem. You might have seen the stuff on a grocery store shelf and scratched your head in wonder: Milk, among the most perishable of foods, sitting on an unrefrigerated shelf? With an expiration date months away? Get outta town.

But it's the real deal. The stuff is super-popular in Europe. So I went shopping tonight and picked up a box (not without some trepidation). Expiration date: October 3rd, 2003! But, there's a catch: As soon as you crack it open, the expiration date ramps up to 10 days. It occurs to me that that's what the freshness cycle is for regular ol' refrigerated milk! So what's the point? I mean, I guess it helps for the next couple of days, since I don't plan on having it until later in the week. But after it's open, I'm on the clock! Sheesh.

Oh well. I'll try anything once, I guess. If it's good enough for the French, Italians, Germans et al, I can take a taste. And, I found out that there's another kind of Parmalat milk that's refrigerated from the get-go, and lasts a good deal longer than regular milk even after you open it. I'll have to seek that out next.