Saturday, March 3, 2007


I cut my thumb yesterday morning while opening a box of milk. This is definitely an injury I would not have sustained back home, as opening milk rarely requires a knife, or any other tool for that matter.

In India, milk is not sold in plastic jugs or cartons or even the glass bottles my parents claim their milk came in growing up. Instead, you can buy milk here either in a box or in a bag. I haven’t tried the bag approach, because frankly, getting two uses out of bagged milk sounds messy.

Whether boxed or bagged, milk is sold at room temperature, as are eggs. Though this seems a peculiar and possibly dangerous way to store and sell milk, there appears to be no harm in storing milk at room temperature. In fact, the milk here lasts longer than in the States. Everyone is familiar with shuffling through the milk cartons in the grocery store to find the one elusive carton with an expiration date more than a week away. Not so with milk here. Instead of an expiration date, there’s a manufacture date stamped on the box. The box then advises that the milk is best if consumed within a 120 days of manufacture. The milk I cut my thumb opening was manufactured on November 7, so despite the absence of refrigeration, it still has two months of shelf life, far longer than you’re ever likely to find in the United States.