Monday, July 31, 2006

Got Bottles?

Early morning breezes ruffled the hair of the milk-man as he walked through the neighborhood. As he (were there ever any milk-women, inquiring minds want to ask?) moved from house to house, and from truck to sidewalk, the jingle of glass bottles accompanied his every step.

Jangling in two pitches, the milk bottle sounds came forth in the bass range for full bottles, and in high-alto/low soprano for the empties! The sound of house doors opening, then closing, in harmony with their own sets of bottle jingles, followed quickly upon the milk-man's departure.

Was it really so very long ago that these sounds were heard throughout the land? In fact, the answer is an emphatic "No!" Even now, in some neighborhoods, the milk truck arrives at the door with fresh dairy products. Sadly, these neighborhoods are no longer common.

Recently though, there has been a resurgence in the availability of the distinctive flavor of milk in glass bottles. After decades of residence in wax cartons and plastic jugs, milk has once again appeared on store shelves in bright-and-sparkly glass bottles.

In southern California, the Wild Oats, Henry's and Whole Foods grocery chains now offer glass-bottled milk, from nonfat to whole and steps in-between, on a regular basis. Sometimes, even raw (gasp! AND hooray!), unpasteurized milk is offered.

Prompting this question in the Ingredient Sleuth's brain:

"Do people really KNOW how GOOD milk in glass bottles tastes?" Or have we forgotten what the REAL THING really has to offer?

In these times of renewed interest in sustainability and organics, both for preservation of the environment AND because foods just plain TASTE so much better in their fresh and unaltered states, people seem to be in a process of rediscovery.

That white beverage in the glass bottles does seem to have a flavor that is uniquely its own. Even in its lowfat versions, there is a depth of flavor -- and a pleasantly-sweet component -- that is hard to duplicate.

Hmmm, let's see, what does it remind me of -- just there, at the tip of my tongue? Ah yes! Sweet-and-fresh butter, honeyed ice cream, pungent cheeses. So THAT'S how all those good things come to taste so delicious. (Another one of those "well duh" moments, in the making!)

They are made from milk!!! Not that imitation stuff, sort of a scaled-back version of itself, that has stood around in waxy or plastic-y environs for days and days and days. But real, fragrant, wholesome milk, just as as the cow made it for us. Meant to be enjoyed sooner, rather than later, without contact with artificial flavors of any kind.

As a treat, even if not for every day -- and sometimes even in place of ice cream -- this Sleuth likes nothing better than a tall, ice-cold, glass of the REAL THING! THEN, and only then, one really can say "GOT MILK!" And perhaps, play a little xylophone-like song on the bottles as well!