canada does it again
January 30, 2005 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Canadian Milk Bags
posted by BuddhaInABucket (96 comments total)
 
Buddha in A Bucket = Canadian Milk Bag?

Strange connection ... strange website ...
posted by homodigitalis at 9:15 PM on January 30, 2005


Animated Directions Included [Flash]

Interesting - the bag does not look thick. I wonder how the bags are transported. Perhaps it is also quickier to chill, thus reducing the possibility of bacteria?

$4.69 CDN for 4 liters? Milk bags are less expensive?
posted by quam at 9:21 PM on January 30, 2005


I never knew such things existed. Should I have met a Canadian woman that offered me a drink from her milk bag ...
posted by rotifer at 9:22 PM on January 30, 2005


That's.... Not what I was expecting.
posted by Balisong at 9:24 PM on January 30, 2005


quam: the bags are pretty thin.
posted by Evstar at 9:30 PM on January 30, 2005


I saw bags o'milk some 20 years ago while visiting relatives in St. Catharines. They were relatively new at the time, and I remember watching my cousin fussing with the plastic holder and installing the bag and thinking "these will never last."
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:31 PM on January 30, 2005


You think it's weird to look at pictures of milk in bags, you should actually have the experience of being asked, while visiting Canada, to run in to get some milk and finding... that.

Initially I was unable to identify the stuff in the bags as milk, thought they just had the little cartons, and had to be sent back into the store with a better description. ("It's in the bags at the bottom of the cooler. Yes, it's in bags. Yes, bags. Yes! Go!")
posted by kindall at 9:32 PM on January 30, 2005


What are these bags made of? The bags can be reused to cook eggs and make coffee, using an iron as a heat source [scroll to EGGS IN A BAG]?
posted by quam at 9:32 PM on January 30, 2005


As a youngster, I once poured orange juice into my cereal bowl, thinking the bag contained milk, as I had been led to expect after years of behavioral conditioning. I've been scarred ever since.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:36 PM on January 30, 2005


20 years ago, Oriole? They're older than that.

I used 'em growing up in Toronto all through the '70s.

I had no idea that milk bags were odd until I left town in my late teens. Everyone used them.
posted by chicobangs at 9:37 PM on January 30, 2005


I used 'em growing up in Toronto all through the '70s.

Me too, in BC.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:44 PM on January 30, 2005


If you drill a quarter inch hole near the bottom of the pitcher the bag will slide in easily. The surface tension of the slight condensation inherent on the bag will keep it in place. I have no idea why they don't come with a hole.
posted by arse_hat at 9:46 PM on January 30, 2005


Hey, we used to get margarine in similar bags in Quebec in the 60s. The Canadian dairy lobby didn't want margarine to look too much like butter, so it had to be made snow white. Quebec finessed the regulation by creating plastic bags of white margarine with a little bead of yellow food colouring in the center. You massaged the bag to distribute the colour more or less evenly, ending up with a butter yellow spread that still didn't taste all that much like butter.

Bags are cheap and easy to handle, but I've gone back to cartons just because continued exposure to the light in my local 7-11 probably leaches some vitamins out of the milk. I guess the opaque silkscreened labels on the exterior packaging blocks a lot of the light, and some brands use blue tinted plastic, but I'm sticking with cartons nonetheless.
posted by maudlin at 9:46 PM on January 30, 2005


I had no idea that milk bags were odd until I left town in my late teens. Everyone used them

Yeah no kidding! I didn't know these weren't a worldwide thing! Wow.

Also, a fireman friend of mine recently told me that the nibs (the cut off bit) can be quite dangerous to toddlers. Apparently due to the nib's unique cone shape, it can not only become stuck in the throat of the child, but also somehow lodges itself during the inhale AND exhale. That's not very clear, but I think you get it...
posted by jikel_morten at 9:47 PM on January 30, 2005


This is pretty much the only way you can buy milk in India. (in cities)
posted by dhruva at 9:47 PM on January 30, 2005


They're weird. People out east (ontario) use them a lot. In B.C. we don't use them--we use the four-litre jugs. We also spell it "litre".
posted by The God Complex at 9:53 PM on January 30, 2005


I had never heard of this until T-Rex forgot to replace his bag.

As a youngster, I once poured orange juice into my cereal bowl, thinking the bag contained milk, as I had been led to expect after years of behavioral conditioning.

Wait. Orange juice in bags? Now you're talking crazy.
posted by rafter at 9:54 PM on January 30, 2005


Is it a Commonwealth thing, maybe?

Are (or were) there milk bags in Australia or New Zealand or the BWI or Cameroon or Hong Kong?

Or England, for that matter?
posted by chicobangs at 9:54 PM on January 30, 2005


I wish canned cat food was sold in bags.
posted by quam at 9:58 PM on January 30, 2005


The bag, plastic or mylar, is a very underused packaging for fluids in the United States.

The widely derided wine box, is usually a mylar bag. While the packaged wine is usually not the best, the bag really keeps the product fresh for days, it chills mega fast, and you can take it out of the box and sneak it into the college library in your bookbag.

Awesome!

You never really see people lugging around hardsided luggage anymore, why do we live with hardsided OJ, Milk, Water, or any other non-carbonated liquid.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 10:03 PM on January 30, 2005


These were standard issue in Bolivia when I lived there in the late 70s through 80s. Having lived in the US before that I found it incredibly odd, but eventually got used to it.

I think they still put it in bags, but my Mom switched to Tetra-pak Chilean milk in the late 80s and never looked back.
posted by O9scar at 10:04 PM on January 30, 2005


chicobangs Are (or were) there milk bags in Australia... or Hong Kong... Or England

Not that I've ever encountered. BWI=?
posted by tellurian at 10:15 PM on January 30, 2005


We had a milk dispenser when I was kid [and we DIDN'T live on a farm] and the milk came in HUGE bags. Oh, and I grew up in the US [Vermont]
posted by kamylyon at 10:17 PM on January 30, 2005


BWI = British West Indies
posted by kamylyon at 10:18 PM on January 30, 2005


rafter: that's exactly where I found it from.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:19 PM on January 30, 2005


I was thinking of random commonwealth regions around the world.

Just curious.
posted by chicobangs at 10:20 PM on January 30, 2005


I used 'em growing up in Toronto all through the '70s.

Me too, in BC.


My grandmother did as well, I remember the plastic jugs they sold to go with the milk bags, hers was a moss green. For the diehard, "must have milk in a bag" people, Safeway still sells milk in bags in my part of soggy BC.
posted by squeak at 10:28 PM on January 30, 2005


Is it a Commonwealth thing, maybe?

You also get them in Israel. Not exactly commonwealth, but the British did have their hand there as well.
posted by dhruva at 10:34 PM on January 30, 2005


I totally miss buying milk in bags.
I also remember when buying small bags of milk in elementary school was something kids took for granted.
posted by nightchrome at 10:40 PM on January 30, 2005


I've been living in NYC for 5 months and hadn't noticed that milk bags aren't around. I always thought they were universal.

The thing about them was when opening a new bag you should use a knife or scissors, but when your a kid and just want some cereal you just use your teeth.

You can always tell when a bag has been bitten open and cut open. Nobody wants to drink from a bag that someone else bit open.
posted by toftflin at 10:45 PM on January 30, 2005


As TGC said, I don't see them here in BC. Never saw them in the US.
posted by deborah at 10:57 PM on January 30, 2005


Definetly not in bags here in TX either.. Part of me wishes I could buy the school sized milk at the grocery store. It always seemed to taste extra good..
posted by AloneOssifer at 11:02 PM on January 30, 2005


While I don't think milk bags are strange, I do think that the practice of keeping them in the bags is.

The bags are disposable. You save money because you don't have to pay for a container; they essentially work as "refills". Considering the instability of the bag in itself, doesn't it follow that they must be transferred to a more proper container after opening? Why put the milk with the bag in a jug? Why? WHY?
posted by Voice of God at 11:13 PM on January 30, 2005


Why put the milk with the bag in a jug? Why? WHY?

Because you can keep swapping out the bag every time one empties, without ever having to wash the jug.

No more milk? Throw away the old bag and drop a new one in the pitcher.

I hope these come to New Jersey in the near future. What an idea!
posted by rafter at 11:25 PM on January 30, 2005


I wish canned cat food was sold in bags.

Million dollar deal...
posted by Balisong at 11:29 PM on January 30, 2005


We've bought them off and on in Iowa for almost 10 years now. You can get a pitcher with a little slit to seal the bag. I'm pretty sure it works out to be cheaper in the long run because you save on all the plastic jug materials.

People really hadn't seen these before?
posted by stopgap at 11:31 PM on January 30, 2005


Go here to read (see pdf link on the right) "The Evolution of Milk Packaging & the Effect on Solid Waste in Ontario from 1968 to 1995."

Also of possible interest: some milk packaging images, a paper called "Packaging, Storage and Distribution of Processed Milk" from the Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Packaging Opportunities for Fluid Milk from Dairy Foods Magazine.
posted by pracowity at 11:42 PM on January 30, 2005


I wish canned cat food was sold in bags.

You guys don't get foil pouches of Whiskas and Kitekat at the store?
posted by pracowity at 11:45 PM on January 30, 2005


When I was a little tyke here in Australia we used to have milk bags. They were delivered to your door by the local milkman (gee we were quaint). At the time the only options were bags or 1 litre cartons. The bags and milkmen both disappeared about the time that 2 litre plastic bottles of milk appeared at the supermarket.

I was looking through the cupboard in Mum's kitchen a few months ago and found the tupperware milk jug that the bags used to sit in, I was amazed she'd hung on to it.
posted by bangalla at 11:53 PM on January 30, 2005



You guys don't get foil pouches of Whiskas and Kitekat at the store?


Because that a single serving of chunks that conveniently fall out of the package,

I want a 25# bag of liquidized chicken protien that I can squeeze out a portion for my cats three times a week instead of buying the tuna cans that get thrown away and is really too much of a treat for my two cats and they overeat and get fat.

For starters.
posted by Balisong at 11:55 PM on January 30, 2005


I also had no idea that milk in bags was unknown in the States. Put milk bags up there on your list with butter tarts and Coffee Crisp.

In east africa (where i live now) they are all about the bags. In addition to milk bags (which come in single serving sizes, people just snip off a corner and stick in a straw), yogurt also most commonly comes in bags, and I have actually seen people walking around sipping Fanta or Coke out of those thin plastic bags you get in the produce department of north american/european supermarkets. (Though i think they just do that to avoid paying the deposit on the soft drink bottles.)
posted by Kololo at 12:13 AM on January 31, 2005


No milk bags in Alberta. It always kind of bothered me that the bags sit open in the fridge. I mean, sure, there are just little triangles cut off the corners, but it's still open to the gross elements of the fridge.

I also had no idea that milk in bags was unknown in the States. Put milk bags up there on your list with butter tarts and Coffee Crisp.

I think they are missing a few things that are more essential than milk bags. I won't bother enumerating them; they'll just get angry. Or sad. Oh well.
posted by blacklite at 12:20 AM on January 31, 2005


You can always tell when a bag has been bitten open and cut open.

I wasn't allowed to use scissors unsupervised, but we had a little plastic widget with sharp edge, purpose-built for milk bag opening, stuck to the fridge with a magnet. I wonder if those have a proper name... rather like this letter opener.

Ahh, the memories! Now that I've moved away from home, and don't drink milk, all my fond milk bag memories had faded away... Thanks, buddhainabucket!
posted by onshi at 2:06 AM on January 31, 2005


Aha! A 'clip it' milk bag opener rests on top of a milk bag (surrounded by other paraphernalia) in this image.
posted by onshi at 2:09 AM on January 31, 2005


I used to drink about one of these a day as a kid. Juice, pop - they were all second to my beloved milk.

Then the lactose intolerance kicked in. :(
posted by will at 2:14 AM on January 31, 2005


my mom had one of those things! but she called it a 'snip it'.

On review, this is a completely pointless comment.
posted by Kololo at 2:14 AM on January 31, 2005


i feel like im being punk'd
posted by tsarfan at 2:43 AM on January 31, 2005


Milk came in bags when I was in Zimbabwe in the 80's.
I don't know if they actually have milk there any more.
Good for freezing, which had to be done even in the prosperous 80's in Zimbabwe, as you never knew when you would be able to get it again.
posted by asok at 4:38 AM on January 31, 2005


There was a test market of milk in bags in the UP about 12 years ago. A gallon pack of milk in bags (two half gallons) was cheaper than a gallon jug of milk, and it only took four or five gallons to make up the cost of the pitcher.

I thought they were pretty darn cool. Buy a gallon pack, and you get two half gallon bags. This was good, because we'd often have to pitch the last bit in the bottom of a gallon jug because it started to go bad. The half gallon bags got drunk quickly enough that this didn't happen. The slit in the pitcher did a pretty good job of keeping the fridge weirdnesses out, and the unopened bag was as good as an unopened jug.

From a producer/shipper point of view, I can see where they'd prefer the bags. Easier to fill, easier to ship, load more efficiently into the truck.

But, conformity (and the 'omigod that's *weird*' mindset of many Yoopers) prevailed, and the dairies all went to plastic jugs.
posted by jlkr at 4:45 AM on January 31, 2005


I lived by the crinkle of the milk bag as a youth. There was nary a Canadian fridge door that didn't have a milk bag opener stuck to it. Remember to always cut upwards!

I do remember milkman (milkperson!) service (in the old-fashioned milk bottles) being provided to my relatives in Sudbury. Do milk-people exist anywhere anymore?
posted by Succa at 4:46 AM on January 31, 2005


In much of SE asia, carbonated soft drinks are served in bags. Means the stall holder can return the empty bottles for the deposit.
posted by the cuban at 4:56 AM on January 31, 2005


Do they still sell "homo milk" in Canada? That was a big guffaw among the kids on a trip to the Ontario Science Centre a long time ago.
posted by pracowity at 5:04 AM on January 31, 2005


Bags were a better solution back when you could only get cartons with fold-out spouts that didn't always separate properly and sometimes ripped, or needed to be hacked open with a knife.

Now that we have cartons with circular plastic spouts and screw-on caps, I prefer those - they are always sealed so the milk isn't exposed to food smells, and you don't have to wash the jug. We can also recycle the cartons where I live, which is better than throwing away another plastic bag.

On preview: pracowity, not only do they still sell homo milk... I have a 2% milk carton in my fridge with a red banner ad on it that proudly trumpets "Tastes Like Homo!"

Which, of course, is why I bought it.
posted by stonerose at 5:12 AM on January 31, 2005


And I bet you keep that carton front and centre in your fridge, stonerose.

The great thing about those milk bags is that you can wash and reuse them. They're quite strong and they last a long time. My mother uses them to freeze fruit and vegetables.

I don't understand the shocked way Americans react to bagged milk. It's the way nature intended it!
posted by orange swan at 5:21 AM on January 31, 2005


Class. I had forgotten about the pale yellow jug we used for milk bags when I lived in Ontario.

We left in 83 and I aint seen a milk bag til now. *sniff* thanks.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:36 AM on January 31, 2005


"Homo milk"...always good for a larf. My wife and I on a recent trip to SF were ordering breakfast and in a forgivable lapse of geographic location she asked for "homo" milk. The resulting look from the waitress was priceless...and she was even more perplexed by our 5 minute gigglefest. Homo is short for homogenized milk, which is pretty much whole milk.
posted by badkarmaboy at 6:16 AM on January 31, 2005


St. Catharines!

Cool - MeFi comes to my neighborhood.
posted by davebush at 6:17 AM on January 31, 2005


I've never seen these before, but am slightly skeeved. I bet spillage is greater with those than with paper cartons or plastic jugs--especially with kids.

and speaking of wine-in-a-box (which i guess is winebags), there's now Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks coffeeboxes which i guess are really coffeebags.
posted by amberglow at 6:23 AM on January 31, 2005


Never seen a milk bag. Milk-in-a-box, yes, but not in a bag.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:32 AM on January 31, 2005


do they sell clips to keep them closed in the fridge? like potatochip bag clips?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 AM on January 31, 2005


onshi, that's a Snippit. Some of the milk jugs have little slots by the handles so you can keep a Snippit handy.

Yes, we have homo milk. And yes, we do have a dairy company called Gay Lea. Got a problem with that?

We (briefly) got milk in SW Scotland in 'lobothene' bags. They didn't last. The name has always made me want to lob a milk bag off a high building, and film the results.

But I guess I might be the only person here who remembers the 1/3 pint tetrahedral TetraPaks of milk in 1970s Scottish schools, and the hexagonal crate they came in ...
posted by scruss at 6:38 AM on January 31, 2005


From the site:

"The typical amount of milk that can be found in a single milk bag is one litre. (Which is 101.47 fluid ounces, 3.17 quarts, and 0.8 gallons according to this website.)"

So Canada even has a different liter measurement? Last time I checked, a liter was 33.8 (US) or 35.2 (Imperial) ounces, give or take a few hundredths.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:39 AM on January 31, 2005


From "Oh Canada", by Five Iron Frenzy:
We all think that it's kind of a drag,
that you have to go there to get milk in a bag!

posted by krunk at 6:47 AM on January 31, 2005


I want a 25# bag of liquidized chicken protien

Dozen chickens and a blender is all you need...
posted by mrbill at 6:53 AM on January 31, 2005


Is it a Commonwealth thing, maybe?

I first encountered plastic milk bags when I lived in Zambia in the nineties. Once we got hold of a metal-wire support device, we actually got to like the bags.
We always had some in stock in our freezer.
posted by Phasuma at 7:12 AM on January 31, 2005


My college cafeteria had the milk dispensers that kamylyon points to. The bag-in-box containers originally held 5 gallons but they changed to 6 in the same form factor. This was the mid-70's so there was only whole, skim and chocolate milk.

They couldn't have been more simple, just a bag and a tube that was pinched off to stop the flow. Other than the refrigeration, nothing to break or require adjustment, unlike the soda machines.
posted by tommasz at 7:30 AM on January 31, 2005


do they sell clips to keep them closed in the fridge?

They do! They're like two buttons fastened together with a springy hinge. And they keep one from having that uneasy feeling about wafting refrigerator fumes.

I bet spillage is greater with those than with paper cartons or plastic jugs--especially with kids.

Possibly, with kids, but otherwise I very rarely encounter any spilling.

Milk bags are great! Easy, cheap, and wonderfully planet-friendly. And they pile so wonderfully at the bottom of the fridge.
posted by Marquis at 7:36 AM on January 31, 2005


In the seventies we had milk bags in the Netherlands as well. They were ditched pretty soon for milk cartons in one litre and halve litre sizes. They are still the main package form today. We also have buttermilk and yoghurt in those cartons. Processed milk is sold in other quartons and you can still find returnable milk bottles but they are not very common anymore.

I was surprised when I moved to Qu├ębec that they still used milk bags here. It was a blast to the past. But now I'm used to them and don't think it's odd. I still miss yoghurt packages that are larger than 750 gram though. That's about my daily intake...
posted by kika at 7:40 AM on January 31, 2005


Kwik Trip stores here in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa sell milk in a bag -- look! I've had it, and the orange juice too. They do, or at least did, give away a free pitcher for the bags. The pitcher has a little slit cut out to twist the bag closed into. It really works quite well. And it's yet another reason why my Minnesota should be an honorary Canadian province. (Anyone remember the quote from someone suggesting that Canada should trade Alberta to the US in exchange for a "sensible" state like Minnesota?)
posted by afiler at 7:46 AM on January 31, 2005


I moved to Toronto, Ontario from Dallas, Texas seventeen years ago and it was like dropping into a bizarre parallel Twilight Zone world where everything was more or less the same, except just a little bit off... the grocery stores still had hot dogs, but they were Maple Leaf instead of Oscar Meyer. People still went nuts for sports, only it was hockey instead of football. You could still buy milk, but instead of jugs, it was in bags.

In fact, milk in bags was one of the two things that freaked me out the most about my new country. The second one was 'hey, where are all the black people?'
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:48 AM on January 31, 2005


Horizon organic (the flying cow!) as seen on the west coast of the US offers single serving milks in a foil bag. It's a bit like a CapriSun for those familiar.
Also note the alarming flavors - banana! orange cream! yikes!
I can't remember the brand but I have also seen a sipable yogurt drink in a bag with a built-in straw.
posted by tinamonster at 7:51 AM on January 31, 2005


I also had no idea that milk in bags was unknown in the States. Put milk bags up there on your list with butter tarts and Coffee Crisp.

Besides milk bags in Minnesota, which I just mentioned, just last night I just bought a Coffee Crisp bar at the Midway Cub Foods in St Paul. So there may not be milk bags or Coffee Crisp anywhere in Jesusland, but if you search hard enough, you can find both in Minnesota.
posted by afiler at 7:55 AM on January 31, 2005


And in other bag news, I have a bag of japanese mayo in my fridge. Sure, it may look like a bottle, but it's basically a bottle-shaped bag with a cap. Very thin plastic. This receives similar bucket treatment except that it goes top down because once opened it cannot stand on its own.
posted by tinamonster at 7:58 AM on January 31, 2005


I was first introduced to these by watching the movie Fly Away Home.

Interesting.
posted by odinsdream at 8:04 AM on January 31, 2005


"Q: It looks like a bag of cocaine
A: Okay."

Bahhahaha! I never had milk bags until I moved east, growing up in BC in the 80s we had the milkman bring our milk and 4 litres came in a jug.

On an aside... there are no butter tarts in the states? How do you live?!!
posted by dazedandconfused at 8:20 AM on January 31, 2005


I miss sterilized milk from Europe. I'm not sure what that's never caught on.

My favorite thing about milk bags is freezing them. Milk turns a pale yellow color with pustules of phlegm, but returns to normal when thawed. When I lived alone I could buy a gallon of milk in three little bags, and not have it turn sour on me. I like to pour them into a regular pitcher, though. A little bit of milk always dribbles into the pitcher, and it begins to smell.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2005


Milk bags are just one of the things I wish the States had after living in Canada for the last three years. I'll admit it took me a while to convert, and continued buying cartons (you can't get jugs, at least in Southern Ontario) until I realized how much cheaper it is to buy bags. It also helps because you don't have to open all your milk at once, so the other bags stay fresh longer.

Our fridge (student house) actually has three different coloured pitchers, since I'm the freak who drinks skim and the others don't like sharing. We have a couple Snippets, they have magnets so we use them to hold up notes too! This site is lacking in the different bag cutting techniques though, I have one friend who insists on cutting two holds, the second being on the "back" corner so you maintain air flow while pouring. Or something.
posted by nelleish at 10:05 AM on January 31, 2005


Give the pitcher a wash every couple of days and any tiny spillage problems are taken care of. I just find that milk in direct contact with regular plastic pitchers smells worse (this includes the 4 liter/1 gallon jugs). Even glass pitchers seem to have the milk go off more quickly than bags, probably because the pouring lip collects bits of dried milk. This means you have to start cleaning that lip to avoid grossing yourself out.

You can also buy various organizers to store and dispense the bags easily in your fridge. I still have mine somewhere in case I switch back again.

(On preview: nelleish, I swear by the two snip method -- it does seem to make a difference in smoothness of flow, most noticeably when you cut a quarter sized hole in the front of the bag. Tiny front holes dispense smoothly no matter what, but I find that too slow for me.)
posted by maudlin at 10:14 AM on January 31, 2005


On an aside... there are no butter tarts in the states? How do you live?!!

With a little less joy, I'd wager.

On a somewhat related aside, my family lived in the US for three years when I was a kid (first St. Louis, then Denver), and every time we came home for the holidays we'd buy several jugs of Heinz white vinegar, because - at least in the Midwest - we couldn't find it anywhere, and these crazy people wanted us to somehow eat our fries without it or some such nonsense. Also Hawkins brand cheezies - we'd bring back a crate of those, too.
posted by gompa at 10:15 AM on January 31, 2005


Oh, man, Hawkins brand cheezies. Or, well, Cheezies brand cheezies, I suppose. I grew up in Belleville, ON where Cheezies are made. Every third house gave out little bags of Cheezies on hallowe'en, and nobody bought big-brand cheezies-clones. Then I moved to Montreal for seven years Cheezies-free. Now that I'm in Ottawa I seriously appreciate that Cheezies are available again.

None of the big brands compare at all.
posted by mendel at 10:46 AM on January 31, 2005


The USA doesn't have butter tarts? Sheeeyit, that means it's, like, a third-world country. And not having Coffee Crisps in all your 7-11s just cinches that status.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:54 AM on January 31, 2005


There are Coffee Crisps in a few of the bodegas around NYC, though they're not what you'd call common.

But yeah, I do miss the butter tarts.
posted by chicobangs at 11:07 AM on January 31, 2005


There are milk bags in Ecuador. I didn't realize they weren't universal until I moved to the states (from Toronto), where milk jugs are sold by Beckers as a quaint throw-back sort of thing.

I think a few key benefits of milk bags have been forgotten. First, you get less spillage. Because the bags are lighter than the big gallon jugs, when the bags are full you don't get the giant wave of milk coming out if you tip it a tiny bit too far. Also, the opening is so much smaller, that it's just harder to spill.

Second, milk in bags can be frozen. That's right.. pop one bag into your jug and the other two in the freezer. Since the bag is sealed no moisture will get in or out during the freezing and thawing. That means if you don't drink much milk you can still save money by buying the larger 4L bags instead of the little expensive cartons.
posted by duck at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2005


Fuzzy Monster: yeah, it's a trip. Moved to BC from TX five years ago (after a one year hiatus in Washington).

Butter tarts and poutine are awesome. Cheezies - not so much. Give me Cheetos.
posted by deborah at 11:39 AM on January 31, 2005


Back when I was in grade school we used to get 300 ml bags of milk for lunch. They had a little seam on the side running horizontally to the narrow side. You used a pointy straw to punch into the milk.

I remember thinking how neat it was when I was a kid. To dated no one else other then those I grew up with know what the heck I'm talking about.
posted by timstang at 11:41 AM on January 31, 2005


Hello? Nanaimo bars? All-dressed chips? Smarties?
posted by noisia at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2005


the cuban: In much of SE asia, carbonated soft drinks are served in bags. Means the stall holder can return the empty bottles for the deposit.

soda in a bag (Bangkok). Self link.
posted by syzygy at 11:47 AM on January 31, 2005


No milk bags here in Austria. The majority of milk is sold in 1 liter rectangular cardboard cartons. A good deal of the milk is pasteurized - it is treated (cooked, I believe) to make it stay fresh longer, and is therefore often not refrigerated.
posted by syzygy at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2005


There was a period of two years in Upstate New York where our school cafeteria made it look as if milk bags were going to overtake the Earth. We all learned to drink from them by putting a thumb over one end of a straw, then jabbing with force. They were great fun.

Then they disappeared. Oh, American milk bags, where are you...
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2005


mr_crash_davis: No. Apart from spelling, the Canadian litre is the same as the US liter. The numbers on the site are off by a factor of three.
posted by Monk at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2005


I remember having these briefly as a kid (Southeastern Michigan). I probably would have forgotten about them completely if I hadn't had an incidient after being sent up to the store on my bike.

There is nothing like seeing one of these things explode under your rear tire after dropping it in the street. I still have the image in my mind.
posted by tj at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2005


20 years ago, Oriole? They're older than that.

I used 'em growing up in Toronto all through the '70s.


That may be, Chicobangs, but there is more than distance that separates St. Catharines from T.O. :)
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:28 PM on January 31, 2005


I can back up bangalla re milk bags in Oz. They were here for a short time - I think in the very late 80s or very early 90s - but were replaced by milk in PET bottles (aroung the same time they stopped selling soft drink/soda in 1 litre glass bottles with a 20c deposit).

I seem to remember the oldies around saying that they'd tried the milk bag thing at some time in the past, too. The worst thing about them was snipping them - milk would invariably splash all over the place. A horrible film of milk would also form around the lid that sealed the pouring spout - I rank it around the same ickyness level as icky soup skin.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2005


The Canadian dairy lobby didn't want margarine to look too much like butter, so it had to be made snow white. Quebec finessed the regulation by creating plastic bags of white margarine with a little bead of yellow food colouring in the center. You massaged the bag to distribute the colour more or less evenly, ending up with a butter yellow spread that still didn't taste all that much like butter.

I'm told that was also the case in Minnesota in the 1950s. I've heard tales of people smuggling in yellow margarine over state lines from less-dairy-oriented states.
posted by gimonca at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2005


bangalla & obiwanwasabi : where abouts?

As a kid back in the 70's, I always thought they were a special "holiday" thing - we never saw them in at home in Brisbane, but when we went on holidays to the Gold or Sunshine coasts they were common.

Memories ... I'd actually forgotten about them!
posted by Pinback at 6:58 PM on January 31, 2005


I've heard tales of people smuggling in yellow margarine over state lines ...

Of all the things to smuggle...fake butter?
posted by odinsdream at 8:36 AM on February 1, 2005


« Older these must be the First Variety   |   The Future of time Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments