Sunday, April 30, 2006


Long life milk. To most of you back in the states, this may be an unfamiliar idea. To a soldier stationed overseas? Long life milk is it. You see, because of the environment, force protection measures, the distance, the culture, the weather, and a host of other factors, regular straight from the cow milk is not available to your soldiers serving in the Middle East. Zain premium long life milk is a powder-based liquid that has the same smell, look and consistency of the milk you all are oh so familiar with back in the USA. There are two noticeable differences of long life milk, however, that I will explain to you now.

Number one, and most important, is the temperature. You see, long life milk is designed to survive over a long period of time without refrigeration. At our dining facilities here, the milk is stored at room temperature (75-80 degrees) then placed in refrigerators for soldiers to grab and consume. The turnover in the refrigerator is very high - soldiers need their milk. You can probably see the downside to this - the milk is never served cold. You may luck out in the early hours of the morning and grab a mildly cold box, but the majority of the time you are left to simply pretend that the milk is cold.

The second major difference with long life milk is the taste. Anytime scientists alter food to improve the lifespan, taste usually suffers. Long life milk is no exception to this common rule.

One other thing worth mentioning here before I end this lecture - have you ever tried emptying a box of milk into a bowl of cereal? This is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Holding the box upside down and squeezing the milk out of the straw and into the bowl is one common technique. Others choose to take their knife (all good soldiers carry a knife) and cut a large gash into the top of the box. This method tends to greatly speed the flow of milk into the bowl, but carries with it more risk - making too large of an incision in the box and spilling milk all over your meal is one example.

Bottom line is this: sometimes when regular folks back home go about their daily lives, they tend to take for granted some of the common conveniences of life in the USA. Milk is one of these conveniences. So next time you open up the frig, pull out that gallon of milk and pour yourself a nice tall cold glass of the white stuff, remember Sergeant Hanseling, sitting at a dining facility in Iraq, struggling to squeeze a box of powder-based long life milk into his bowl of lucky charms. Enjoy what you have back home ladies and gentleman - I know I do.

Pop quiz - how much calcium is in this box of long life milk pictured above?

No comments: