Milking it for all its worth
By Andrea Freedman
When I was little, I have a distinct memory of my step-grandmother on my dad’s side always serving milk from a bag when my family and I went over to visit her and my grandfather. Even as a child, I found the bag off-putting; that is not to say that it stopped me from drinking it with the cookies she made nonetheless.
These days, as a more sensible adult trying to find ways to save a few bucks here and there – especially since launching my full-time writing career – I am now looking at bagged milk through different eyes.
I first started thinking seriously about trying bagged milk again after food prices began escalating and a couple of my neighbours swore by the money they save by purchasing bagged milk, as you usually get at least ½ quart more than you do when buying cartons. Not only that, the price is about the same or less for three bags of milk than it is for one regular double quart of milk, whether the bagged milk is on sale or not.
These ladies can well afford to buy milk from a carton, but they are not too proud to choose the bagged, less expensive milk instead. If it’s good enough for them, I thought, it’s good enough for me.
Off I went enthusiastically to the grocery store, finally committed to giving this a try. However, once I got the bagged milk home, it took a little while before I got the hang of things. If you haven’t yet tried bagged milk yourself but have considered it, although it can indeed be a potential money-saver, there are a few things you should know:
- At first I thought I would use one of my existing pitchers. Why buy a new one when I don’t really need it, I reasoned? Little did I realize that initial bag placement is actually vital, as milk pitchers are made specifically to fit a bag of milk’s size and shape; cutting corners with any old pitcher will cause the bag to flop around and not stay in place, possibly resulting in a big mess!
- Things were not quite so simple either when I used a scissors and (or so I thought) carefully cut a hole in the corner of the bag to open it. Well, picture, if you will, the look of utter horror on my face when the milk poured uncontrollably all over the counter (and on me) rather than making its way into my cereal bowl, where I had intended it to go! Yet another purchase would be required – a handy little bag snipper made for the express purpose of properly opening milk bags; another initial outlay of money, but very minimal, and, as it turns out, quite handy.
- Beware: A bag of milk can take up to two days to completely defrost in the fridge. Even when you think it is completely thawed, don’t be surprised if a there are still a few remaining frozen chunks of milk in there.
Despite the casualties, and the moments when I asked myself if it was more trouble than it was worth, it didn’t take long for this experiment to pay for itself.
I have not noticed any difference in the taste of my milk since using the bagged form. Maybe “Auntie Freda” as we called my step-grandmother, knew what she was doing after all. Once the milk is in your glass, coffee cup or cereal bowl, you can forget about what it was contained in and just enjoy it – and at a lower cost, no less.
It certainly won’t make or break me, but for now I’m sticking with the bagged milk. Imagine all the money I would have saved if I had only done this sooner; oh well, you know what they say – no use crying over spilled milk.♦
Copyright © by Andrea Freedman, 2015