Dietribes: Milk It for All It's Worth

Image credit: 

"¢ Milk must do a body good since it's the first thing any of us drink! But let's learn more about this dairy delight by which we also get cream, butter, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, and most especially, cheese.

"¢ Milk's history mixes with alcohol on more than one occasion. Louis Pasteur was helping students attempt to ferment beetroot when he discovered the process that would become known as "pasteurizing," or sterilizing substances.

"¢ But why choose between milk and beer when you can have both as Bilk or in a White Russian, a la The Big Lebowski?

"¢Â Milk can also be used as a substitute for alcohol such as in celebration - just ask nay NASCAR fan! Winners of the Indy 500 have a tradition of drinking milk after their victory, a practice that has gone on since 1956.

Sports Illustrated even ranked milk #1 as the sports world coolest and healthiest prize.

"¢ Got Milk? The slogan started in 1993 and marketers began featuring celebrities in the print campaign. Boasting 90% awareness in the United States, the pithy trademark has been licensed out to dolls and toys and been the brunt of many a well-recognized parody.

"¢ When the price of glass went up, paper milk cartons were in high demand. John Van Wormer, a toy manufacturer, applied for a milk carton patent in 1915, but the familiar tetrahedral shape was developed in the 1940s. The idea was to use the least amount of packaging possible, and lead to the ubiquitous brick-shaped carton of today with the gabled tops.

"¢ I don't know about you guys, but at my grade school we had a lunch card and ... a milk card! Milk is certainly no stranger to the school cafeteria - President Truman signed the National School Lunch into law in 1946, which included a half pint of milk as a required staple.

"¢ In recent years, efforts have been made to replace the original whole milk requirements with 1% or skim. It wasn't until 1988 that low fat and skim milk exceeded the sales of whole milk.

Etan Patz was the first missing child featured on a milk carton, a practice which has since mostly been discontinued as such and updated to more tech-saavy modes of display.

"¢ Cow's milk, sheep's milk, goat milk yes, but rat milk? Dog milk? And even more extreme examples, no thank you!

"¢ Don't like milk, or suffering from lactose intolerance? Try (my favorite alternative) soy milk! Made from a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein, it is produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water. Soy milk contains about the same proportion of protein as cow's milk and most include a calcium boost.

How do you Flossers take your milk? With a bit of chocolate or with your tea? What about as a substitute for other liquids?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

More from mental_floss...

June 17, 2009 - 7:05am
submit to reddit