Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Munchies - Milk Substitutes

I believe I'm slightly lactose intolerant.  I came to this conclusion when realized that if I banished cream based Frappuccinos from my daily routine then my agonizing stomach cramps also disappeared.

The occasional milkshake was tolerable as was cheese.  But if foods were too rich they would leave me doubled over in abdominal distress.  

But once in a blue moon I longed for a bowl in cereal, that wasn't bone dry.  That's why a few weeks ago I began to try out various milk substitutes like Almond Breeze, Rice Dream and Coconut Dream.

Now the first one I tried was Coconut Dream, because I'm essentially a big kid and in my mind coconuts are sweet and full of goodness.  Thus, their milk should be glorious.

The packaging boasted vitamins and 3x the calcium of...something.  It sounded amazing, which is why the first sip was so disappointing.

Coconut Dream was much thinner than I expected/wanted it to be.  I was hoping for some body and there was none to be found.  And it tasted like coconuts, actual coconuts.  Not nearly as sweet or powerful as artificially flavored and sweetened products had lead be to believe.  It tasted like the hint of a memory of the coconut I'd been expecting.

With cereal, it was acceptable, but pretty much just as disappointing.

And that's when it hit me; I was expecting Coconut Dream to be like a romanticized version Strawberry Milk; sweet, think and not tasting anything like what ingredient it's named after actually tastes like.  It was a sobering dose of reality.

With my expectations recalibrated I tried out Coconut Dream again and this time I was just mildly disappointed.  I did manage to use it to make a Blueberry/Coconut shake using some blueberry ice cream.  And honestly the shake wasn't half bad.

Next up was the Almond Breeze.  This time around I opted for the vanilla flavored variety.  It was much tastier.  It also felt as thought there were more body to it.  And it worked really well with the cereal.  I was much more impressed with the Almond Breeze than I was with the Coconut Dream.

The thing about Almond Breeze is that it does actually taste like almonds.  I love almonds.  They are one of my favorite nuts.  But tasting them in the liquid you're drinking is sort of discomforting.  It's like the flavor and the sensation don't usually go together, which makes for a weirdly conscious moment.

Last up was the Rice Dream.  I went for the Rice Dream mostly because it looked like the only "Dream" that I hadn't tried a version of.  And again I went the vanilla flavored route.

Much like the Almond Breeze, the Rice Dream succeeded due to diminished expectations and the added flavor.  And also like theAlmond Breeze, the Rice Dream is completely tolerable.  The Rice Dream also benefits from rice pudding, in that the flavor and the substance don't feel completely foreign in conjunction with each other.

Of course the real lesson I learned with the variety of Dream milk substitutes, is that the use of milk is really a learned behavior.  Milk hasn't been a part of my daily routine since I was a young schoolboy.  As a result, in my refrigerator reside three half full containers of Dream milk substitutes, because there isn't enough demand in Casa de Serpico to finish a container before it expires.

Still, if you're interested in milk substitutes, I'd  go for Rice Dream because of the basic familiarity with the flavoring.  Next up would be Almond Breeze which is good, but literally nutty.  And finally Coconut Dream which I think is strictly for the adventurous.  

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