‘Got milk?’ No, not that almond stuff — real milk!

RHYMESBY LENORE SKENAZY  |  “Where’s the milk?” I asked my best-friend-from-high-school, Gigi, as I peered into her fridge.

“It’s right there!”

“Where?”

“There!”

But, as Gertrude Stein would have said — if she needed something to pour in her coffee and was still alive — “There’s no ‘there’ there, only almond milk.”

Gigi shrugged.

“That’s what we drink.”

And therein lies a tale. There was no cow milk in Gigi’s fridge, no white bread in her bread box, and no peanut butter in her cabinets — only almond butter. Without even realizing it, Gigi had become what we used to call a health nut, but is now apparently a health mainstreamer, leaving good ol’ milk-drinking, Wonder-loving, candy-gobblers like me behind. Folks who still eat hot dogs, if you can believe that, despite WNYC reporting for 36 hours straight last week: “The World Health Organization says processed meat is bad for you. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad! Donate now, before you drop dead.” 

Simply by standing in place, I’d become abnormal, like a gal still wild about Earth Shoes. Or Pet Rocks. Or Jeb!

Everyone else today is eating or juicing something they never thought they’d even consider food. A guy I know (who was briefly a pro football player!) just mentioned he is into hemp hearts.

Hemp has a heart? It’s legal to eat? He says he mixes the hearts into cheesy eggs, which sounds somewhere between revolting and felonious. 

But hemp is just one of those things that people say, “I’m into now.” LIke Kombucha — the stuff in bottles that looks like pond water. And chia! If chia can go from pet to food, what hope is there for puppies? Another high-school friend of mine (they’re all turning!) now “cheats” by eating chia pudding!

Cheats on what? Gently sauteed pine needles? Liver smoothies? How is it cheating to eat something so healthy that it still grosses out at least a portion of the population? 

“Marcy!” I typed at her. “You were the one who introduced me to the food that is totally worth cheating with: Hostess Fruit Pies. What happened?” 

She typed back (where would we be, friend-wise, without Facebook?): “Chia pudding is made with chia seeds, almond milk, cacao [or, for those that still speak English, cocoa], maple syrup, and vanilla extract. As the seeds soak, they become tapioca-like. Makes a yummy pudding. Hostess Fruit Pies?! I forgot about those.”

Forgot?

I know, I know — people’s tastes change, and change is good. My friend Sue is eating beets now. She used to spit them out back when beets were on everyone’s shelf — sometimes for years — in a can. Then recently someone convinced her to eat them for good luck and she gave them an open-minded nibble. Now Sue’s a  beet-nik, and I worry that the vegetable is a gateway to hemp hearts! 

And others are opening up to celery root. All those ancient grains are taking over, too. Not for nothing do they call it Faro. 

The problem is not that people’s tastes are shifting. They always do. It is that they seem to be lurching. 

“I got all into trying to go vegan, then I got into paleo — huge shift, I know,” I saw a mom confess online. 

The soy milk folks are getting into butter. The pescatarians are trying pork. The NutraSweet crowd is swearing by Stevia. And I wasn’t going to mention kale, but it is the elephant in the kitchen.

“It’s an aspirational vegetable,” explains Nancy McDermott, an independent researcher and advisor to Park Slope Parents. “It’s also very pretty. I saw a nice Kale tattoo on Facebook the other day. But eating it, preparing it, is difficult. I hate having the cut out the stalks, and then rolling the leaves and cutting them. And as for bruising it, I think you’d have to sleep with it under the mattress to make it tender enough to eat.”

By the time we are sleeping with our kale, all bets are off. It’s driving me to drink.

But not kombucha with almond milk. 

Lenore Skenazy is host of the reality show “World’s Worst Mom” on the Discovery Life Channel. She is also a public speaker and author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids. 

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