According to Milkpick.com, Maine had the third-highest milk prices in the United States in 2022. Their findings were based on the price per gallon at each state’s largest Walmart. Though it remains uncertain how much milk costs when bought somewhere other than Walmart, Milkpick’s data revealed that Mainers spent an average of $4.77 per gallon for moo juice last year, a figure topped only by Pennsylvanians ($4.92) and Hawaiians ($5.94).
Milk was just $1.67 per gallon in Georgia in 2022, making it cheaper than bottled water in some places. Texas ($2.06), Kentucky ($2.32), and New York ($2.38) had the three next-lowest prices. What’s their secret? Are cows prohibited from unionizing in the Peach, Lone Star, Bluegrass, and Empire states?
How can a gallon of milk be more expensive in Maine than it is in Alaska, where it goes for a mere $3.96? After all, dairies in Alaska are about as plentiful as ski resorts are in Mississippi.
These alarming figures bring to mind a mini-crisis of my youth. Concerned about our family’s rising expenses, my mother decided part of the problem stemmed from her oldest son’s habit of coming home from school, wolfing down two bowls of cereal, and subsequently falling asleep. Perhaps coincidentally, he (okay; full disclosure: I) was rarely hungry at dinnertime and never tired at bedtime. This led to little to no shuteye at night, sleepwalking through school the following day, and ultimately, she concluded, academic underperformance. Based at least partly on my consistently lackluster report cards, Mom cruelly and unilaterally froze the family milk budget.
But rather than panic, I had an epiphany. I realized I had never really enjoyed that milk on my cereal; it was merely a readily-available cold fluid that kept my breakfast food from sounding and tasting like Purina Dog Chow. Once I realized that, the solution to the untimely milk rationing was obvious: find a substitute liquid. Spying a bottle of apple cider, I poured a liberal amount of it on my Cheerios.
That solution proved unsatisfactory, for both fiscal (cider cost more than milk did) and gustatory (it tasted lousy) reasons. But then I had an even better idea. Leering like Wile E. Coyote opening a carton of Acme dynamite, I went back to the drawing board.
Twenty-four hours later I raced home after school, poured myself a generous bowl of cereal, and grabbed a spoon. The bottle of water I had filled 24 hours earlier was ice-cold. Drenching my eagerly-anticipated midafternoon snack with fully-chilled H2O, I shoveled a heaping spoonful into my mouth, and….
Cheerios with water are not even remotely appetizing. In fact, that combination is far closer on the taste scale to “disgusting” than it is to “delicious.” There are worse things, though. After doing some further experimentation, I can report definitively that Sugar Frosted Flakes with orange juice on them are anything but grrrrrrreat!
These days I use milk judiciously on my morning bowl of Bran Flakes. Thankfully none of the young Youngs is addicted to after-school cereal bingeing. Which, in addition to being financially helpful, at least partially explains why their grades are so much higher than their father’s were when he was their age.
Sure, it’s humiliating to reveal this bit of youthful foolishness, but I feel it’s essential to spread awareness about milk’s importance when it comes to cereal. If this selfless confession can prevent even one child in Pennsylvania from pouring water on their Rice Chex (or worse, some misguided Hawaiian youth from putting Pineapple Juice on their Cap’n Crunch), I will consider this potentially embarrassing revelation well worth the sacrifice.Andy Young
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