This week, Dean Foods, America’s largest producer of milk, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing “accelerated decline in the conventional white milk category.” Grub Street does not like to see anyone lose their jobs, but this development is also not surprising, because milk is, and always has been, disgusting. The less of it that we drink straight, the better off we are as a country.
For instance, if you are lucky enough to find milk that has not yet gone bad, it will still taste like it has gone bad, somehow flat, sour, and musty, all at once. It coats your tongue, unpleasantly, and leaves a lingering aftertaste of rancidity. As for “chocolate milk,” it’s not a treat; it’s gaslighting. A feeble attempt to make straight milk taste not horrible.
To be fair, milk does have some redeeming qualities. Ice cream and butter are gifts; and milk is essential to the world’s two most important pastimes: making and eating baked goods. But all of these foods succeed in spite of, not because of, milk’s inherent awfulness. They take advantage of the good part of milk — the fat — while removing or masking the characteristics that make milk so gross.
And let’s be clear: This is not an endorsement of alt-milks, either. They may have the moral high ground over dairy from animals, but oat milk, almond milk, and all the rest are equally disgusting in their own way. Why do you want to drink wet nuts and plants? (There’s a reason most people only want these in their coffee, where you mostly just taste coffee.) Some will say alt-milks are an acquired taste, but ask yourself what you’re really fighting for if you’re trying to acquire a taste for damp oats and moistened almond meal.
Milk has been marketed for decades as a healthy, quintessentially American choice, but with the possible exception of newborns, you do not need any kind of milk in your life. Got milk? I do not. Because milk, on its own, is not good and it never will be.