Shaking the Milk

A week ago I was in my kitchen at breakfast time, opening the refrigerator door and getting out a bottle of milk.  I turned around and began to walk back to the bench, shaking the milk bottle up and down.

And stopped.  I had been shaking the milk without thinking.  But now thought.  It must be thirty years since the milk at the grocer’s – I mean the mini-mart – has all been homogenized, and needs no shaking.  My hand had remembered.

Milk used to come in glass pint bottles, with foil tops, which you could either tear off quickly – usually a bad idea – or remove by a kind of twist-and-wriggle.  This made the top come off whole, so it could be parked on top again when you put the bottle back in the refrigerator.
Source: Adelaiderememberwhen

There were two colours of foil top, gold and silver.  Our family always got the silver.  I think the gold had more cream.  This was Sydney in the 1950s and 1960s; I believe the colour coding in other places was different.

Either colour, after opening you could pour off the Top of the Milk, which was heavy with cream and so a treat.  But then the next person got thinner milk, and the next person even thinner.  And in our family, that was Not On.  Everyone was entitled to their fair share of the cream.

So the first person to use any bottle had the moral obligation of Shaking the Milk, to distribute the cream molecules evenly through the watery molecules.  And that meant really shaking it.  No cheating!

Primitive socialism - a whole ethic in a gesture.  No wonder my hand remembered.
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