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Vanilla-flavored almond milk is delicious. Thick and sweet and really, practically like drinking dessert. It’s not really fair to expect ordinary milk to measure up; I suspect that if you filled anything up with that amount of sugar and vanilla, it would have a certain appeal. But I’m not one to be hooked on sugar in all things. I take my coffee without sugar, my tea, even hot cocoa–when made with milk, the creaminess makes up for the lack very nicely. It’s really a much nicer drink for a grown-up than SwissMiss.

With that in mind, I thought I might try other kinds of milk. Not the ones loaded in sugar, but the regular ones. And having done so, I have to wonder: how desperate would I have to be to drink this stuff on purpose?

I tried unsweetened soy milk. First just a little taste, for curiosity’s sake. It tasted rather like chalk. Surprisingly thin chalk, with the consistency of extra-thin skim milk. I can’t say I was that surprised, as my dad tried it recently and reported exactly that result. No worry; I had never really intended to drink it on its own. But nice coffee shops offer soy milk in their hot drinks all the time, so surely a hot chocolate would do it justice.

No. Just… no. I thought I would at least finish it, as the hot drink steamed invitingly in my hand, but ended up pouring it down the drain. It wasn’t worth the suffering.

One wonders why I bothered at all, since my body seems to be a big fan of milk all around. I can only cite curiosity.

Well… and Pinterest. I’ve seen some lovely recipes for chia pudding that involve mixing your favorite almond milk with chia seeds and letting the seeds absorb the moisture, for a tapioca-like finish. And this brings me to my second failed domestic experiment: the pudding that didn’t pud. I combined the chia and vanilla with milk, thinking that the inclusion of almond milk was a vegan, raw-food or paleo addition to the recipe. It turns out that the thicker texture and extra sugar content may have been, shall we say, integral to the creation of the custard-like texture that is so sadly lacking in my lactose-laced version. The runny texture didn’t prevent me from downing a serving, but it probably should have.

This leaves me to console myself with popcorn. A new apartment means a new microwave, and as my first batch of half-popped popcorn made clear, a new popcorn strategy. No dish towels were harmed in these attempts (for less happy trials, see here and here). Suffice it to say that I have found the perfect popping solution. My silicone bread pan, topped with a round silicone cake pan, lets all the radiation through (because that isn’t disturbing at all), popping just about all of the popcorn kernels. Success!

So if you want me, I’ll be lounging on a sheepskin in my living room, eating freshly-popped popcorn and drinking hot cocoa made from cow milk.

The Librarian

With my husband, the orangutan. Ook.

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