Monday, February 25, 2013

Powdered Milk

or Yikes! When Did Powdered Milk Become More Expensive than Fresh Milk?

Last night I had Ward pick up some powdered milk at the store because many of the recipes for my bread machine use it, and I had decided it was time to branch out from the bread we usually make. I didn't think any more about this until Theo was looking at the receipt and said that powdered milk was really expensive. Upon further investigation, we figured out that when reconstituted, powdered milk was about twice as expensive as fresh milk per gallon.* What? When did that happen?

When Ward and I were kids, both of our mothers had powdered milk in the cupboard because it was a money saver--especially since they had a lot of kids around who drank a lot of milk. (I thought nothing of having two or three glasses of milk with supper-growing girl and all). Even though powdered milk was quite a bit cheaper than regular milk, no one liked the taste. However, our mothers tried their best to get us to drink it. They would mix the regular milk and powdered milk together to hide some of the taste and make the regular milk last longer. They also tried serving it ice cold when it was said that you couldn't taste the difference between the two. My mother even tried mixing it with Nestle's Quik.

However, no one was very happy with their experiments. At Ward's house, it was an acceptable drink although not preferable. But it was a no go at my house. My father was raised on a farm with fresh-from-the-cow milk every day, and the powdered milk just didn't cut it. My sisters and I really didn't like the taste, so we were secretly siding with my father. So after a valiant try, my mother gave up. I even once or twice tried powdered milk with Wally and Theo because I thought it was my duty as a mother. And they didn't like it any better than I did. And just for nostalgic reasons, today Ward made himself a glass to see if it tasted as bad as he remembered. The look on his face told me that things hadn't changed.

So in my mind, powdered milk has always been there as the bad tasting, but inexpensive, nutritional alternative to regular milk. But somewhere along the way, things changed. It got expensive. More expensive than regular milk. I wondered why and did a bit of reading. And you know what I figured out? It's a very confusing issue. Price supports, weather, disgruntled cows and a customer preference for cheese may be involved.

So what is the conclusion to all of this? The more things change, the more they remain the same. Powdered milk still tastes bad.

*This was comparing milk prices in the same store. We did this in two different stores and found the same thing.