Posted by: cynematic | August 3, 2009

Got Milk? We Drink Your Milkshake

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My son drinks your milkshake

I’m not going to bury the lede:

My son accidentally zinged a Got Milk? frisbee off the head of the president of the California Milk Processors Board at a Got Milk? event. Color me mortified. The head of the trade group–i.e., our HOST– was extremely gracious, and offered that he has small kids of his own.

When I asked the president of the California Milk Processors Board what milk his kids drank, he answered that his wife gives “hormone- and anti-biotic free organic milk” to his own young children. I gently pointed out the milk used at the milkshake event was hormone- and antibiotic-full, and presumably not organic…and that for a lot of moms, especially of young kids, organic milk is a “gateway drug” to other organic foods and healthier eating. He said, That may very well be. Certainly his own wife had those kinds of concerns. But his job as head of the California Milk Processors Board was to promote all milk producers in the state, and the organic milk farmers were but a few producers out of all. So it would be favoritism if he promoted one kind of milk over another.

Hmmm. (Both AmysFunny and Bernadette Batts were there, they can vouch for my paraphrase! Right ladies?)

I guess you could say my son and I gave him the socially gauche double-whammy. You know what? I’m gonna own it. I live to ask all the embarrassing questions you want to ask, but are too …something… to ask.

Here’s a little more information on the California Milk Processors Board: they created the hugely successful “Got Milk?” campaign, which has been parodied on T-shirts and bumper stickers and as such the tagline has firmly wedged itself into the cranial crevices of probably 99% of sentient beings living in the US.

As a mom with a kid, I’m a prime target for milk marketing like this. Given that I belong to a high-risk group (Asian women) for developing osteoporosis later, and because I have a school-aged son who is very much in growth mode, I should be–and am, mostly–receptive to messages about milk as a healthful drink as opposed to soft drinks or sports drinks. I don’t allow my kid to drink soda, and for a while I made my husband drink his cokes with the can inserted into a foam beverage wrap (ostensibly to keep the drink chilled, but really to hide the logo hinting at the contents from my kid).

So I mostly offer organic no-hormones, no-antibiotics milk, water, or a real fruit juice or vegetable juice (no added sugars or artificial colors) to my son. At various times in his life, he’s also drunk fortified almond milk, oat milk, and rice milk–all milks I’ve tried with my cereal as a result of my intolerance to milk sugars. He doesn’t much like soy milk (nor do I, it has a nasty queasy-making beany scent and taste to me). He likes V8, of all things, and also fizzy drinks like Pellegrino (!!) or Perrier (!!) although he prefers the more refined bubbles of Pellegrino (!!!!!).

Okay, that last part about fizzy waters sounded ridiculous. Because it is. The bigger point being, I’m one of those uptight mamas that believes sweet sodas are The Devil’s Beverage and will schedule an exorcism accordingly should my child accidentally drink some.

When approached by the PR person and invited to this event, I debated whether I should attend. I’m lactose intolerant, and the idea of mixing oreo cookie milkshake with rum to make a mixed drink doesn’t appeal to me. I’m more a fruity confection/mojito kind of person. But I thought, if my kid can go drink a free non-alcoholic milkshake, sure, I’ll go.

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BLD: Got Milk? milkshake event

The event was held on a sunny afternoon at a chic upscale diner called BLD–Breakfast Lunch Dinner. I’d been there before for a Hollywood-type meeting. Polished concrete floors, immaculate white tablecloths, hipster indie filmmakers “taking a meeting” over there, tv execs discussing a show huddled over here. Not normally a place given over to kids sucking down frothy drinks.

Kids got to assemble made to order milkshakes (alcohol-free, obviously) at various little tables set up all around the empty restaurant. There were add-ins, like Oreo cookies, gummy worms, Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, and so on.

I thought my son would go whole hog on the add-ins, because normally I don’t buy that stuff for him and I’m always waiting for the other nutrient-free shoe to drop after all my encouragement to make healthy choices at home. To my great surprise, he chose the oreo cookies and that was it.

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Got Milk? eensy dessert tray

Trays of delicious little desserts were passed. The BLD pastry chef had whipped them up for the event.

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Milk and...tequila? Surprisingly tasty.

The mixologist at the bar whipped up several delicious-looking milkshakes. Some were named, inexplicably, after relatively unknown California legislators. As a political junkie, I appreciated the educational effort but thought maybe the drinkee would be so intent on the rum as to miss the civics lesson.

The grownup milkshake I liked best featured tequila and caramel. It was basically like a thicker Starbucks coffee drink with a large shot of tequila mixed in, and whipped cream on top. Let’s face it, it was a high-calorie liquid dessert for lushes. Right up my alley, in other words.

So there we are, milquetoasty moderates when it comes to milk. We don’t go so far as seeking out raw milk, which is a whole movement, as I understand it. I’ve offered my kid chocolate milk and he has refused it, much to my secret approval (24-30 g per serving, sugary stuff!). I understand Making Chocolate Milk Okay Because At Least It’s Not Soda is the new secret California Milk Processors Board campaign, or why else “science-ish” like articles like this one saying that it’s darn near better than a sports drink for athletes, this one, or this one? At least this news story puts the California Milk Processors Board $1million campaign to push the issue at the forefront. Clearly, flavored milk is the next thing health activists are eyeing as they survey school lunch menus in their efforts to remove fats, high fructose corn syrups, and refined sugars from kids’ public school foods. And so the California Milk Processing Board has to have some way to fight back against all that healthiness.

Which led me to wonder, is it really a good idea to host a party where kids can get hopped up on sugary milkshakes and their mamas debauched on alcoholic beverages IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON?

The slightly tipsy, driving the sugar-freaked. Kinda demented, and maybe only in LA.

See why I thought the milk should’ve at least been organic?

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