Top Milk

For many years when I was much younger, I only drank Top Milk. Even today, home for holidays and family functions, I’m accused of refusing to drink anything but. I’m sure there are a number of you wondering, “WTF is Top Milk?”

Being that my mother was a quasi-hippie-turned-yuppie, our house had the (mis)fortune of enjoying weekly milk delivery from a local dairy processor. The milk arrived in glass bottles. Cardboard and plastic containers, modernity, had not yet arrived in our household.

We drank whole milk back then, rich in its 4.5% fat content. I’m still not sure whether because of the glass jars, or because it was whole milk, but for some reason little fat globules would collect on the surface of the milk. We’d peel back the foil lid, and hidden underneath was a teaspoon’s worth of fat. I was not amused.

Fluid mechanics however, is on our side with this one. A full bottle of milk, when tipped to pour a glass, allows the fat to float to the top. On the other hand, a mostly empty bottle of milk lacks enough liquid for the fat to float away. The fat then ends up in your glass of milk.

Top Milk simply means the milk at the top of a full bottle. There was not an opposite of Top Milk, no bottom milk to speak of. There was milk and there was Top Milk, the sweet elixir of a freshly opened bottle. Only Top Milk was assured a fat globule free glass, and so it came to be that I only drank top milk.

I don’t drink milk very much anymore, though on occasion I’ll pour some over a bowl of cereal or add milk to a mug of coffee. Our refrigerator now only has plastic jugs of fat free, skim milk. But still, if the jug is less than a quarter full, I’ll find some other snack or drink my coffee black.

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