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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Cream Dreams
I recently started taking milk deliveries, partly to help dairy farmers get a reasonable price for their product, partly through a kind of 1970s Unigate nostalgia. It works well enough, but my milkman (unlike my mother's) delivers milk in plastic cartons, not recyclable bottles, and there's half the point gone right there.

Does anyone in these homogenized days say "Top of the milk"? It was a phrase much in use when I was young, and milk had a top - but now the cream does not rise, although through long habit I still find myself upending any new bottle or carton to mix it up.

I've always assumed, by the way, that this is where the phrase "Top of the morning" came from. Is that true?

I always shake the milk up. I'm not sure I was even aware of it till just now.

Since your query sent me wandering:

"One theory is that the phrase is a corruption of the Irish (Gaeilge) word an bhainne (of the cream) as an maidne (of the morning). I don’t know if this is substantiated anywhere."

Fascinating. I hadn't even been considering that it might be a corruption of an actual Irish word - it just seemed like the obvious metaphorical reading.

I'd always assumed, with no particular evidence or thought given to the matter, that it was a translation of an Irish expression*, but "top" for "best" makes sense with or without the cream association.

*but see, e.g., https://books.google.com/books?id=Ej588744-gYC&pg=PA261

The cream rises on our milk (delivered in glass bottles).

I have to pick my milk up, but it comes in glass bottles from the Mennonite farmers, who don't use any nasties in their cow feed or milk production. So shaking it is!

I use skimmed milk these days, but I still shake it! :o)

There should be an archaeology of body language.

I wouldn't be surprised there already is! :o)

I was taught it as ethnohistory...

Ah, that makes sense.

Many drinks taste better with more air in them. When I've boiled up the kettle more than once but it still has a lot of water in it, I often swirl it to get more air dissolved in the water, rather than filling it fresh from the faucet.

Interesting. I've seen that principle applied to wine, but never considered it wrt water!

My milk isn't homogenised, but it *is* semi-skimmed: does anyone still buy gold top? Do they still sell gold top, or do they (whoever 'they' are) steal the cream to sell separately?

I do still invert the bottle before opening it, though - the eroded remnants of the original gesture.

I always believed - correctly or otherwise I don't know - that gold top came only from Jersey and Guernsey cows, the creamiest ruminants of all. Back then its creaminess was seen as a selling point, but I suspect gold top suffered a decline, perhaps to extinction, in the decades when fat-free was considered the only healthy option.

Edited at 2015-03-02 09:24 pm (UTC)

I was discussing the disappearance of glass bottles with a friend as we watched tits on the bird feeder. I read somewhere that tits have forgotten how to peck through milk bottle tops, because they don't see them often enough. Bird opened milk...is no more. I wondered when the glass bottles disappeared, they were there in 1989, when I left England, but they aren't there any more.

My mother still has them (in Hampshire), so they're not entirely gone. No problems with the tits, though, since I was a child. :( (Or do I mean :)?)