The Universe of Discourse
Thu, 23 Nov 2006

Damning with faint praise
If you have used evaporated milk, you may have noticed that the label says something like:

By adding one part water to one part of the contents of this can, a resulting milk product will be obtained which will not be below the legal standard for whole milk.

This sounds ghastly, doesn't it? "Will not be below the legal standard...". Shudder.

The purpose of this note is to let you know that:

  1. I have done this,
  2. more than once, and
  3. it not only wasn't as ghastly as it sounds,
  4. it wasn't ghastly at all.
Evaporated milk by itself does not taste much like milk. But if you dilute it back to normal concentrations by adding one part water, it tastes a lot more like milk. It still doesn't taste exactly like milk, but it tastes a lot more like milk than it does like anything else.

From the warning on the label, you would expect maybe a 30% resemblance to milk; in truth, the resemblance is more like 85%. That's close enough to drink plain, if you're not too fussy, and it's certainly close enough to pour over your cereal without noticing the difference.

The wording of the label scares people off, but it works quite well, well enough that it is probably worth keeping a couple of cans in the closet for emergencies, like when you run out of milk for your cereal at 2 AM after the store is closed.

This has been a public service announcement of the Universe of Discourse. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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