Monday, December 5, 2011

Economical Milk Options in Guatemala

Growing up in a family of 5, we went through at least 3 gallons of milk every week, sometimes 4. This milk always came in a big plastic jug bought at the local WalMart with a 2% label and a not-quite-authentic, but familiar flavor.

In Guatemala, one of the first things that was different were the lack of rows of plastic gallons of milk in the refrigerated section. There were a few, but then those seemed to go bad very quickly. Most people didn't buy that version, so if you visited anywhere, it wasn't available. What they used I had never, ever seen or heard of in my life: shelf stable boxed milk:
The flavor, while milk-like, was stronger and though 2% still seemed more concentrated. Visitors from the U.S. never quite got used to it, so they always requested purchasing the plastic jug version. Since it was cheaper and lasted so long, we did acclimate eventually. It seemed to make no difference in baking.

Another economical option for milk in Guatemala is usually done by a young boy who herds goats delivering house to house. The goats are usually in a group of 4-6 with a rope leash and the boy has a whip and sometimes a bell to announce his presence. If you want fresh goat's milk, you either provide the container or he usually brings a disposable cup and squeezes fresh milk for you right there. Many workers buy a cup of goat's milk to go with their breakfast on the way to work and some families are regular customers, buying their milk fresh every day. Here's a YouTube example where a guy buys a cup of warm goat milk for 5Q: (The milk part is in the first third of the video... the views of the guys in the video do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog... blah, blah, blah ;)

Photo found here:

Of course, many people who live in the city use these options, but those who have their own fincas, or farms, sometimes have their own goats or cows. Many times we were stopped suddenly on a narrow, one-lane road at night to avoid hitting cows who had either gotten out or whose owners had let out so that they could eat the grass on the side of the road.

While I've tried goat's milk and our daughter likes it, we never tried this version in Guatemala. Have you tried milk in Guatemala? Were you surprised by the difference or was it what you expected?

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