December 6, 2011


Lest my last post give you the impression that I've abandoned my health conscious ways, I assure you that I remain as neurotic and nutrient cognizant as always. A healthy cardiovascular indulgence burns a fair number of calories, sure; but recovery - and thus future performance - suffers when the diet quality takes a nose dive.

Of course, three beers is not such a travesty. Probably, some alcohol is better than none, so long as that boring advice about moderation is kept in mind. There were carbs... and... uh... antioxidants. Beer is made from whole grain Barley!

And in this case, milk. Which brings me, rather conveniently, back to dairy. It's a topic I've focused on in the past, abandoned, and now return to once more. Sort of. Basically, my past posts dealt with fat, and how its presence in food and drink doesn't immediately bulge your waistline. In fact, though calories are calories, the sweet stuff mixed with skim is probably "worse" for you, in the long run.

(As an aside, and since I've never mentioned them before, nuts are fantastic. This is not breaking news, but while we're on the subject of fatty foods, they deserve mention. Morning coffee is one of life's sublime pleasures; but so is fresh ground peanut butter in a thick bowl of oats.)

But this is not a health and fitness blog. (Which does raise the point: What kind of blog is this? Shouldn't I have some idea?) My primary concern is with taste, and preparing the best (however we define that) drink for the customer, every time. This is an impossible goal; but I find those to be the most satisfying to pursue.

And so it is that my primary aversion to skim has nothing to do with its lack of dietary fat. (In truth, very few Americans are consuming too little.) No, skim simply tastes awful. I've said so for some time now, but hadn't actually tried it in... months? A year? More, maybe.

I changed that today, having been slightly prompted. I was asked by a frequent latte drinker what I though switching whole for skim would do to the taste of her drink. "Well," I said, "There will be a lot less fat, so the texture will change more than the flavor. It'll probably feel a bit thin, and lack the creamy texture that whole has. Honestly, I don't think I've ever heard of someone preferring skim."

But she was undaunted. I prepared the drink, taking care not to stretch the wispier skim milk too much. "I think I like it better," she said. A first time for everything, I supposed. Though I couldn't suppose quite that much; cognitive dissonance has its limits.

So, seeing that there was some skim left in the pitcher, I poured it in to a demitasse, and sipped. Granted, there was no espresso, and this was only a taste. But I couldn't imagine wanting for more. It tasted, to me, like someone had blended up a bag of cotton balls in water, microwaved it, then substituted it for milk.

Of course, your mileage may vary. There are legitimate reasons to cut fat from your coffee drinks, if you plan on consuming it elsewhere. Some simply don't handle drinks that heavy very well, while others have an aversion to dairy in general. (On that note, I'd say soy tastes much better to me than skim does. It does, however, cost extra.) And then there are those who, though incomprehensibly to me, like skim.

Well, there's at least one.

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