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January 17, 2011

How in the Hell Do You Milk An Almond? ~ René Cousineau

Photo Courtesy of Angela Mueller

Because Almonds Don’t Have Nipples

The first thing I ever remember hating in my life was milk. Booster shots? Handled ’em. Nap time? Loved it. Preschool? Awesome. But milk? Yuck. As soon as I developed the ability to make my own, conscious decisions regarding what would and would not enter my body, I stopped drinking it.

Then, as my mother was careful to ensure that I had a taste for the finer things in life, at around age 12 I was re-introduced to milk via that smooth, complex, soulful and oh-so-so-sexy beverage we like to call the latté. I’m getting withdrawals right now just thinking about it… and I have one in front of me. Needless to say, I can probably consume just about anything if you put a shot of espresso in it–don’t test me, things could get gross.

The point of all this is that, for being the type of person that cringes at the sight of a tall glass filled with nothing but cold, white milk, I sure have ingested more than my fair share of the stuff. So recently when Elephant Journal published an (awesome) article entitled “Humans Shouldn’t Drink Cow’s Milk,” I was surprised and intrigued. I was surprised because I was always told as a child that, since I didn’t drink my milk, my bones were going to turn to dust by the time I was 10 and my (much stronger, milk-drinking) brother was going to have to cart me to school in a little red Radio Flyer for the rest of my life. I was intrigued because the very title of this article was positing that my instincts had been correct all along, and there was no need for me to hop on the milk-drinking wagon… or I guess, hop off of my dust-bone wagon (if anyone wants to form an alt-country band by this name just give me a holler).

The world we live in is a world of alternatives, anymore, and I am an alien in this world. Before moving to the crazy town of Boulder, CO., I thought that the only kind of flour was wheat flour, the only kind of sausage was pork sausage, paper could only come from trees, milk could only come from cows, babies could only come from… well that one is still mostly true. But I’ve been enlightened, and if I had known in my youth what I know now at the ripe old age of 22, I would have begun my quest to find out exactly how it is you milk an almond years and years ago.

Almond milk is the sh*t. It tastes awesome, it’s good for your heart, it’s low in calories, it’s good for your cholesterol, I don’t even need to go on. The stuff practically sells itself. I was encouraged to try it after reading the aforementioned article, having never even thought of seeking out a milk alternative in my life. But you know how they say that love always seems to find you when you aren’t even looking for it. You may think that’s extreme but, I’m always this enthusiastic.

So, having discovered this new love of mine, I thought it would be appropriate to write an article about where it comes from and how it’s made. I imagined that this article would be long and complicated, just as I imagined the process of milking an almond would be. Because really, doesn’t it seem like the process of milking something that doesn’t have nipples would be long and complicated? Turns out my imagination is just too wild and it’s extremely simple, even to make at home. The best way to learn is from watching one (or several) of the various instructional videos posted on youtube.

And that’s that. I like this particular video because the woman in it is adorable, a little squirrely, kind of sounds like she’s making it up as she goes along and has that funny little flub there at the end. She also displays the most oddly pornographic milking action I could find. And who doesn’t love a little action? Even when it comes to something as wholesome as almond milk, I know I do.

No, this isn’t the long, ultra-detailed explanation of milk extraction that I was looking for to begin with. It occurred to me during the researching process that maybe it was more worthwhile to address my complete obliviousness to the fact that something like almond milk even exists, and that making it would be so easy. Upon this discovery, I seriously felt like the only person on the planet that didn’t already know how to make it, and even got embarrassed about having set out to write this in the first place. But dammit, if life hands you almonds, you better just suck it up, admit that you’re slow on the uptake, and make milk.

René Cousineau was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, CO. She currently lives in Boulder and is a student of fiction writing and Russian literature. She spends her time reading, cleaning, hiking, dancing, and slinging cupcakes at a local bakery/coffee shop.

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