Cow and milk

The Skim Milk Scam

“Things are seldom what they seem
Skim milk masquerades as cream.”

–HMS Pinafore, Gilbert & Sullivan

I loathe skim milk.

There, I’ve confessed the truth, in all its nutritionally incorrect squalor.

They always say that if you eat or drink something long enough, you’ll get used to it. Sure, skim milk doesn’t taste as good as full milk (a.k.a. real milk), but just drink it, they said, and you’ll get your calcium without all that nasty saturated fat.

Let’s toss aside for the moment the argument about whether milk is really essential for strong bones. Let’s talk about flavor. Skim milk has none. It tastes like an amnesiac’s memory of milk.

My grandmother, who came of age in the days when milk was delivered right to your door, with the cream on top and the skim milk on the bottom, used the cream in desserts and her wonderful creamed vegetables, drank the milk, and reserved the skim milk for stuff where its lack of flavor wouldn’t matter: in pancake batter, maybe, or as slop for the pigs.

I tried to be a good girl. Really I did. OK, skim milk was a bit too much, but I drank 1% milk, which is almost as low in fat. I drank it for years, actually. I poured it into my coffee and watched it turn the coffee gray. I used it in pancake batter and in smoothies. I ordered the skim lattes at Starbucks. Once in a while I held my nose and drank it straight.

I never got used to it. Ever. One day I looked at my husband and said, “Screw this. Get me some milk that tastes like milk.”

My conscience pricked me just enough to compromise on 2% milk rather than the full-fat stuff. Reduced-fat milk doesn’t taste quite as good as real milk, but I tell you, next to skim milk, it’s the creme de la creme.

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