Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In praise of Parmalat

It's Day 6 of managing Snowmageddon 1 and Snowmageddon 2 here in the Baltimore-Washington area. Before we lose power (we haven't yet at all, knock on wood), I figured I'd sing the praises of "shelf-stable" milk. We keep the Parmalat brand of shelf-stable milk in our pantry at all times, as a back-up supply of fresh milk. When your house is surrounded by three feet of snow as mine is now, Parmalat is a lifesaver. Well, that's an overstatement. Paramalat is a coffee, cereal and kid beverage saver. We're big into milk in my family. We average a gallon a day.

Shelf-stable milk is, and I'm quoting from the Par
malat carton, "Ultra Pasteurized ... 100% real cow's milk." It's packaged and sold in a "Tetra Pak container" (similar to a juice box) that "protects the milk from any external contamination." The unopened package can be stored at room temperature for up to six months. Once opened, the milk needs to be refrigerated and consumed within seven days. Shelf-stable milk isn't common here in the U.S., with our giant supermarkets and reliable residential and commercial refrigeration, but it's the milk of choice in remote and less developed places. I relied on it when I was in Bora Bora.

Although there are other manufacturers of shelf-stable milk (Borden's among them), the stores in my area
carry only Parmalat. The milk comes in whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, fat-free, organic and even chocolate varieties. It's sold in either a one-quart carton or in a six-pack of individual serving cartons (again, similar to a juice box). The smaller size is great for a child's lunch box or for keeping in a diaper bag to fill a toddler's bottle. I love this stuff. It's super convenient and tasty. (It's a bit sweeter than traditional fresh milk.) The downside: Compared to fresh milk, Parmalat is pricey. A one-quart carton costs about $2.25.

I was surprised yesterday when m
y husband trudged in from a pre-storm (Part 2) excursion to the supermarket carrying a dozen cartons of Parmalat. While the dairy aisle in the store was a madhouse from the run on milk, no one was bothering with the Parmalat. It may be because people don't know about the wonders of shelf-stable milk, or they don't know where to find it in the store.

Tip: Parmalat is usually kept in the baking aisle. Oddly, it's usually not kept near the rice and soy milk products, which are also sold in shelf-stable packaging and are the milk of choice for people who can't or don't want to drink cow's milk.

A situation-specific benefit of Parmalat: Its sturdy, shelf-stable carton is probably tossable. If (when?) my neighbors and I become trapped by the snow and plow drifts, a Parmalat-equipped samaritan with a good arm could football throw cartons of the milk toward our houses. (Try doing that with a plastic gallon of milk.) Looking out my window, and seeing snow depths that would bury my seven-year-old twins to their eyeballs, I might just get to see how well a carton of Parmalat can fly.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Good tip. Thanks for including the picture. I keep some powdered milk in the house for emergencies, but it doesn't taste great. It does work okay for cooking.

 

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