Archive for August, 2011

The other day I was in the supermarket with my mother, my Brooklyn Mama, and she wanted to get some milk. She kept insisting they didn’t have any left. She said she went through bag after bag of milk and all she could find were ‘lattes’. I went over to help only to find what she was reading was “lait”, the French translation for milk. Even after so many years of living in a bilingual country, my mother still seems to get confused by foreign words on the packaging.

You may have noticed I said bags of milk in the above paragraph. This was not a misprint. You see here in Ontario the majority of milk is sold in plastic bags. This is something that has gotten me strange stares when trying to explain it to my American friends and family. While 1L and 2L of milk are sold in cartons, 4L milk is sold in large bags containing three separate clear bags of milk.

Bags of Milk

Bags of milk as sold in Ontario

Single Bag of Milk

A single bag of milk

You simply place one of the bags of milk in a special pitcher, snip the corner and away you go. Just don’t cut too big a hole or you will risk spilling milk, especially with a full bag. Also, once snipped, the bag remains open. Many people will fold it over or use a clip to keep the bag closed and the milk fresher. I remember growing up we had a special milk container with a lid that kept the bag covered. I guess we were the lucky ones.

Milk Pitcher

Pitcher to hold a bag of milk

Milk Pitcher with Lid

Milk pitcher with a lid

Here is a popular YouTube video which demonstrates the milk bag in action:

The milk in the bag concept was introduced in 1967. Slow to catch on at first, milk was commonly sold in reusable plastic jugs. Some years later, when the blessed metric system came along, it was easier to resize plastic bags than jugs. Plastic bags of milk are also less expensive to produce and purchase and have therefore become the milk package of choice for families.

Although not sold this way in all parts of Canada, I found out milk is sold in plastic bags in many other countries including Estonia, Argentina, Brazil, Israel and many others. I believe Great Britain has recently transitioned to the milk bag. I am curious to know if there is anywhere else out there where milk is sold in a non traditional way. Let me know by leaving me a comment. Maybe you live in Ontario but you drink a certain type of milk that is not packaged in bags or maybe you splurge because you just prefer the taste of milk from a jug or carton. How do you like your milk from a bag, carton, or straight out of the cow? Let me know. I’m interested in hearing from you.


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