All that’s white ain’t milk

My father was apparently a sickly child, prone to fevers.  Every time he was delirious, his mother would mix hot, sweetened milk with carbonated water (aka club soda, sparkling water, seltzer, fizzy water) and make him drink it, and as lore would have it, the fever would disappear.  I was thankfully a healthy child, and even the few times that I did end up with fever, my mother had enough sense to not let my dad treat it.

In grad school, my neighbour in the run-down grad-student housing was a North Indian grad student, whose name I have forgotten.  I once dropped into his house to pick up some candles (there was going to be a blizzard that night and the power always fluctuated during blizzards), and he offered me a drink. Since it was non alcoholic, I accepted it with thanks.  The drink was cold coca cola mixed with cold Vit D milk.  I actually liked it  (I like anything with milk) and continued to have it for two years of my life.  Two decades since, I have forgotten the taste of it,  and don’t intend to remind myself of it – do you know coke really cleans your toilet bowl to a shine?  With a pH of 2.53, why wouldn’t it?

Again, in Grad school, in an attempt to put on weight (I was uncharitably addressed as “2D LG” by the juvenile Indian grad students that my university was infested with at that time), I tried the eggy-milky-occasionally rummy drink of egg nog and was hooked.  The egg nog of my grad school days still stays with me, especially around my hip area and refuses to budge, aided by the tubs of rum-n-raisin ice creams of yore.

I have had Irish coffee back in grad school, but had not particularly liked it.

Life in the US killed my relationship to lactose – I suspect it was because grocery store milk in US was reconstituted, and never natural (this was before the “organic” tag gained respectability or was affordable to a grad student).  I became severely lactose intolerant and stayed off all forms of milk products for many years afterwards. Only recently, after 20 years of de-americanising my stomach and re-setting it with what passes off as milk in India, has my tolerance to lactose and diary returned.

My forays into alcohol began only after marriage, but lest you think of me as an alcoholic needing intervention, my frequency of having any form of alcoholic beverage has been once or twice a year.  The last time I had wine was in Italy, last summer, and it was divine and very feebly alcoholic, except for one occasion that made me giggle uncontrollably.  The summer before that, my sister-in-law had brought us vodka and Scotch, both of which I hated because less than a sip made me throw up and gave me a phenomenal migraine for hours afterwards.

Yesterday, I met my BFF over coffee.  The precious woman got me Bailey’s Irish cream and rum-chata, probably sick of my WhatsApp rants about how hard it is in India to get a decent bottle of alcohol that does not give me a migraine, at price that does not require sale of body parts.   After expert advice from Rob on how best to consume Irish cream,  last night, I tentatively sipped the iced milky beverage, almost sure that I was going to head to the sink to throw up.  Caramel, milk and whiskey?  What kind of combination is that?

A few many hours later, as my afternoon coffee with Rumchata fills my being and takes me to almost orgasmic ecstacy as I type this out, I can only be grateful that we don’t get Bailey’s Irish cream or rumchata in India.  I’d probably need an AA membership if we did.

 

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11 thoughts on “All that’s white ain’t milk

  1. Carol

    I do like a Bailey’s every now and then, sometimes in coffee, sometimes plain. When out, an Irish coffee after dinner is nice. For me, just one does fine – it feels a bit heavy and sweet for more.

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  2. Hangaku Gozen

    I can’t write after I drink, contrary to the old stereotype of the two-fisted drinking novelist a la Hemingway. I once made the mistake, back when I was a newbie reporter at a Midwestern reporter, of going to a bar (“F. Scott Fitzgerald became an alcoholic here!”) and having a couple of Irish coffees with the photographer who had worked on an assignment with me. After we left the bar, I realized I was hopelessly buzzed; I could not focus on writing my article, which was due the following day. I tried guzzling cups of regular black coffee to sober up: but after sitting there for four hours, I could only peck out this sad little six-inch feature. I thought I was going to be fired, but my editor didn’t comment about my work, and it ran in the morning paper, albeit heavily rewritten by the copy desk. Anyway, I learned my lesson that night: alcohol and work don’t mix. I still refuse to drink if I have a big project at home that I need to finish.

    Of course, if I don’t have anything to do that night, I make up for those sober evenings with a glass or two. Or three.

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