As I was waiting at my usual coffee shop this morning for my usual 744-oz iced Americano – what? I need the caffeine. It’s the only thing keeping me alive at this point – I noticed a small note on the cash register that read, “We now have Almond Milk.”
Well, OK. They have almond milk, which I have absolutely no doubt is a huge boon to the lactose intolerant, the latte-lover with a milk allergy, or people that haven’t yet figured out how to get more of the Mayo Clinic’s 10 “Superfoods” into their diet. Good for them. Although, for the super-fooders, you might want to pause a bit and really consider the ramifications before working on that “broccoli milk” concoction you’re thinking about. Because, ewww.
Upon noticing said note, being me, I wondered aloud, “What exactly is ‘almond milk’. And who’s the poor sap that has to milk the almonds?”
The barristas chuckled a pleasant, moderate chuckle – aw, look, that customer made a not-funny joke, let’s give him a sympathy laugh – and one of them even played along a bit and replied, “We actually had to take on a new employee just to milk the almonds.” We all chuckled again, I wheeled out my vat of cold espresso, and went on my merry way.
But, seriously, what is almond milk? Soy milk too, for that matter. Or any of the popular substitutes for our favorite bovine beverage?
Last time I checked, milk came from mammals. You know, Farmer Joe and his son Billy get up at Stupid-Pre-Sunlight-O’Clock every morning – a time when slothful jerk-handles like me are still lazily dreaming beneath our covers of being made King of Recliner-land – and head on out to the barn to kick awake the rooster and collect whatever Bessy has to offer with their pails. Or, well, since this is 2013, I guess maybe Bossy is hooked to some magical milk-suction device twice a day at a MilkCo, Inc. industrial diary farm, which may or may not be a front for some spy stuff going on in the secret base deep underground. Whatever.
Either way, I’m pretty sure you can’t milk a nut. I mean, um, you can’t, well, you know what I meant, perv-o. You can’t milk a soybean for that matter either. For one, they aren’t mammals. For two, they don’t produce milk. For three, they don’t have udders. For four, um, well, I just wanted to use “For four”.
At any rate, if this stuff is, as I guessed, a beveragey concoction made from the pressings/squeezings/grindings of these non-mammalian parts, shouldn’t it be like “Almond Cocktail” or “Almond Shake”? I mean, we squeeze olives, right? But you don’t see Mario Batali going on and on about using Extra Virgin Olive Milk for every possible dish known to man, do you? No, that stuff is called olive oil. Maybe, since the “milk” contains the body of the almond as well as whatever liquid might be contained therein shouldn’t it be a “juice” instead? Although, seriously, have you every noticed almonds to be, you know, juicy? Me either. You’d have better luck trying to juice a raisin.
That’s not to say I begrudge anyone their almond, soy, or other substitute milk. I mean, the world these days is full of strange and difficult situations. If even the thought of throwing back an ounce of cow juice makes your throat itch or sets your tummy to grumbling like you’d normally only experience after a two-day binge at the pizza buffet and mystical pepper emporium, I am glad that you have something to make frothy for your latte.
But is it any kind of milk, really?