January 7, 2007

Whole Milk

I drink whole milk. And I like it.

I don't smoke, drink or do drugs. I feel guilty when I say crap and tip the untalented buskers every week at our Farmer's Market. But the allure of full fat, creamy delicious whole milk is more than I can resist. I'm under no illusions. I know that a cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of fat and 25% of my daily saturated fat. But I don't care. That's right, me and my full fat milk mustache just don't care.

I grew up on powdered milk. It was the one dark spot of my otherwise idyllic childhood. We were happy there, in the woods of Connecticut. My eight siblings and I didn't want for much and had worked out our peace treaties with each other and the world. But every morning we would come downstairs and have to face the reality of a freakishly large family.

Heaven forbid the powdered milk was prepared the night before - no, we always waited until our bowl of Cheerios had been poured to discover the emptiness of the blue gallon pitcher. Then a hasty batch of powdered milk would be thrown together and slid across the table at me. There were the inevitable lumps of dry milk powder that had not yet dissolved floating on the surface and it was still steaming from the hot tap water. Mom would rectify this by throwing in a few ice cubes and pointing to the sugar bowl. Is it any wonder porridge became my breakfast of choice?

I don't remember much about kindergarten except for lunch time. There were these amazing little red boxes at the end of the lunch line. Whole milk. Cold. Smooth. Incredible. You had to carefully unfold the top of the box so that the cardboard didn't tear incorrectly and your drinking area become unprofessional. I was the master at creating the perfect spout. Once opened, I would shape the cardboard just right so that the carton contoured perfectly to my bottom lip. And then I would drink - slowly - oh so slowly - my precious whole fat milk. I liked to take in large mouth-fulls and let the thick drink seep into all the corners of my mouth and leave a silky film after it was swallowed. I learned to trade my less desirable lunch items with friends for their milk and would build a small metropolis of empty milk cartons on my tray by the time the bell rang for us to go out to recess. Kindergarten was fantastic.

When I got to be about 12, my older siblings started leaving home and my mother began buying real milk at the grocery store for our diminished ranks. But it was 1%, 2% if we were lucky. I still craved whole milk but hid my passions as we are taught to do as teenagers. A few years later I even gave up milk for over a year at an older boy's suggestion that the whole idea of drinking cow's milk in the first place was disgusting.

It wasn't until last year when my toddler began drinking cow's milk that my ravenous lust for whole milk re-surfaced. Doctors recommend infants drink full fat milk so I added it onto my grocery list. And then one day there it was. An entire gallon in my fridge. And there I was. Just staring at it. What followed was inevitable.

With as much negative press fat and calories have gotten recently, I still haven't had the courage to pour myself an actual glass of it, but every time I happen to be in the kitchen alone I'll peek out the window and make sure the neighbors aren't looking and take a few desperate chugs from the jug. On the record, I drink Vanilla Soy Milk exclusively for both the health and snotty benefits. But off the record, after my family is asleep I go straight for the stuff with the red cap.

My husband just left town for the week. I'm off to drown away the loneliness. How could something so wrong feel so right?


The Wiz said...

It is NOT wrong. It just has a bad rap. Your body needs fat, despite all the negative press lately. Truly. It does need fat to function. Some of the press is starting to turn positive, and I'm on a mission to help it out. And seriously, if it's good for your babies, why not good for you?

What your body does NOT need are damaged fats - hydrogenated oils, fried foods, etc. But fat from whole milk? Your body knows exactly what to do with it. Go butter!!! Down with margarine!!

Go pour yourself a whole glass. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Drink it up, baby. And then, later on in the day, have another one. You need the calcium, too.

Adrienne said...

If it makes you feel better, I was raised by hippie and a heart patient, so it was nothing but skim (and powdered at that) milk and whole grain bread and grapenuts at our house. I used to go to other people's houses as a kid, all "Full fat milk? WHITE bread? LUCKY CHARMS?!??? Would you adopt me?"

Torchness said...

This will make you feel better-- there was recently an article that said that those who drink whole-fat milk products are generally skinnier over a nine-year span than those who drink the lower fat versions.

Which is bad for me, because I drink a ridiculous amount of skim milk. Oh well, adios osteoparosis!

Bex said...

GASP! you chug from the jug? I would *NEVER* do that...ahem. Really.

As for the whole milk thing--ick. I'd rather eat ice cream. I LOVE skim milk and I don't care if it looks like white-ish water. I find it very delish.

But I'll have to check out this vanilla soy milk stuff...sounds interesting.

clyde said...

"And then one day there it was. An entire gallon in my fridge. And there I was. Just staring at it. What followed was inevitable." Most human beings call this love at first sight. You, my dear cousin have hidden away the heart of a novelist... or maybe you're just a tricky milk drinker.:) Have you ever consider to attend Milk-a-holic Anonymous? We love you and can't let you go in that dangerous drinking life. No way!

Heather O. said...

I'm with The Wiz. Actually, there is some research that says that whole milk is better for you, because it comes closer to milk's natural state. You think cows give out skim milk? The closer to nature, the better for you, and like Wiz said, your body knows exactly what to do with that fat--and will actually thank you for it. It will use that natural fat and the protein to help balance your metabolism. Natural fat is not your body's enemy--processed food and "fake" (hydrogenated anything) fat is.

Lisa M. said...

Do you have any idea what *percent* whole milk is?

I was totally shocked, a whopping 3 and 1/2 percent, sometimes less.

Um ya.

Not a biggy.

Love soy.

luckyzmom said...

Heavy whipping cream in my coffee, this is my indulgence. And I certainly hope the Wiz is right.

I so enjoy reading your posts.

Lady Steed said...

Since becoming pregnant I can no longer stand skim milk. For most of my adult life skim was all I would drink, but now...well I stepped up the fat and now a gallon of 1% resides in my fridge.
It is so choice! So luscious! So indulgent! I love milk!

Rachel said...

There is no shame! Drink away! Just think of all that good calcium. My weakness is all fatty cheese. Yum.

s'mee said...

gimmiw whole milk. I LOVE the thick creamy taste. I love it ice cold. I use real cream in my soups and on my cocoa. I may die young...but with no regrets.

Mumsy Editor said...

Freakishly large family? My heart goes out to you. As the fifth of nine I suffered the powdered milk thing as a child as well. I loved going to Seminary, where our teacher had a monthly donuts and milk party for all the birthdays that month. WHOLE milk on the menu. I was thrilled. Maybe that's why I was a daily communicant at Seminary? Try keeping enough gallons of milk in the fridge when your dear fam goes through THREE gallons a day! I bought 50-pound bags of non-instant milk powder from Bronx Bar Supply in NY for you darlings. We did try to mitigate it with dashes of Half 'n Half for your cereal.

I remember going to our family's cabin on the Snake River, with my grandmother presiding. There were cartons of Land O' Lakes whole milk in the fridge! My big chance, anytime day or night....but when I drank it, I felt like I was drinking pure cream, so wound up diluting it with water anyway!

Tasty or no, I'm still leery about whether cow's milk is really that great for adult humans. It sure made my little darlings' allergies kick in, with reactions ranging from runny noses, ear infections, and zits. We could put up with everything but the zits.

FoxyJ said...

My mom grew up on a dairy farm, so powdered milk is like some sort of blasphemy for her. I inherited her love of dairy products and I'm sure I'm passing it on to my kids. I've been known to drink half-and-half out of the carton (sh, don't tell!) Hubby and I usually drink skim so we can lose weight and my daughter now gets 2%, but I still like to make my own yogurt out of whole. And whole is the best way to go for making cocoa or pudding. Pour yourself a glass and embrace the yumminess!

Shiloah said...

That is so funny! I had a lot of powdered milk growing up too and there were just four of us girls. Now I'm a mom of a freakishly large family with extravagant tastes- we like whole milk too! The creamier the better! My kids should count their blessings that their momma is a milk connoisseur and maybe a little on the "hip" momma side! ;) LOL

Anonymous said...

this is so strange, all of a sudden I've been into whole milk too. I was just surfing the web to find out the truth about drinking whole milk...like is it as bad as they say it is for you. Anyway, whole organic milk..and I can't drink enough of it, ice cold-and yes I feel guilty!
anyway I found this post and thought it crazy, yay that I'm not the only one drinking whole milk!...