Saturday, April 06, 2002

More milk

Susie sent me a note re: Thursday's entry below on my dislike of milk with a link to one of her journal entries on the same subject. Apparently the British exported to their former colonies this method of turning children off milk drinking. Let me elaborate further.

Now that I know the difference between pasteurized and homogenized milk, thanks to Susie's entry, I realize our morning milk was warm because it had just been pasteurized (not because it had just come out of the cows...). The milk was then put into a cooler (which I don't think was as cold as a refrigerator and thus allowed the milk to sour a bit) where it developed a layer of "skin" by the time of afternoon tea because the milk was not homogenized.

The cups of milk were carefully counted out, one for each child, so you could not not drink your cup. Fortunately, the cups were only filled about halfway. One technique for not drinking all the milk was to dump some out on the tray where the dirty cups were collected. However, it was rather obvious when too many children tried that ploy.

One year, because of the fighting in nearby southern Zaïre, the American embassy recommended to my parents' mission organization that the children be taken out of school. Our mission chose to do so. However, the other children remained at the school. When we returned, an extra cup of milk began not to be emptied and the blame was put on us. (I think the school staff were somewhat contemptuous of our mission—those whimpy Americans—for pulling us out of school.) Whoever had not been drinking their milk started to and the crisis was averted.

At certain times the milk was sour, not because it wasn't cooled properly, but because mangoes were in season, and the cows would eat ripe mangoes that fell from the trees into their pasture. Then we would have to gag down our cracked corn porridge with mango-soured milk.

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