Sometimes it takes a guest from home to point out a transatlantic gap I had stopped noticing. Like, as my oldest friend asked me last weekend, 'what's the deal with all the different kinds of milk?'
She has a point. There is an insane amount of milk choice here. It's one thing that the supermarket, on top of fat free, low fat or whole milk, offers a range of anti-milks for the faddy or geninuely allergic. So almond milk, soy milk: we have those at home too. But here, of course, every simple choice is then multiplied by several more choices, like flavoured almond milk - and in seven different flavours, no less.
And at coffee shops or diners there's not only the usual range of milks and anti-milks, but actual cream too. On reflection it's probably ultra pasteurised crap that hasn't seen a cow for several months, but they call it cream and it looks pretty thick. It's astounding to me that cream is still brought as standard to the table with coffee. Even at 8am. Who has cream in their coffee? What is it, Christmas? A banquet? Madness. Of course you can always be restrained and have the mysterious 'half and half'. Mysterious because I'm still not sure what the point of creamy milk is - I mean, isn't that just whole milk?
Then there's the home where you're offered a coffee and then 'Milk or half and half? Or creamer? We have vanilla, macademia, chocoloate - oh and there's this new snickerdoodle flavour they just brought out'. Too much choice, people! Plus creamer truly horrifies me. So far as I can tell it's a mixture of sugar, ultra pasteurized milk and chemicals you pour into coffee so it doesn't taste like coffee any more. I bet if banning it would put a dent in the obesity numbers way faster than Michelle Obama's Move It campaign.
If I didn't already prefer my coffee black, I think a short while in the States would have me changing my preference sooner than you can say 'espresso'.