The thing that blew his mind more than just about anything else was that in Canada, we often buy our milk in bags rather than cartons or plastic jugs. This poor guy had picked up some bag milk thinking there were going to be some sort of caps or openings he could pour it from built right into the bags, and then felt stupid when he got the bags back to his lodgings and couldn't really do anything with them. So, in the interest of Canada/US relations, here's a quick primer on using Canadian milk bags.Here in Ontario, bag milk comes in one big bag that holds three smaller bags. All three put together is 4 Litres (1 US Gallon) of milk, which means that one bag is equal to 1.33 L or 1.4 US quarts of milk.
When my friend opened the big bag and found the that the three single bags inside were just plain sealed plastic, he didn't know what the hell he was supposed to do with them. Who can blame him? He didn't know that people who buy bag milk have pitchers at home that are specifically designed to hold them. They are available for purchase right near the milk in the grocery store, most often hanging by their handles off the fixtures above the milk shelves. They look like this:
There is one important thing to know about using bag milk. Do not cut the corner of the bag until AFTER you have dropped it into the pitcher and banged the pitcher on the counter or table to seat the bag properly. As you might imagine, doing this bit out of order can be messy.
I am rather uptight about how the corner of a milk bag is cut. A clean, smallish cut is the best way to achieve a smooth and neat flow. The easiest way to achieve such a cut is with a little milk bag cutter thing:
Rantwick's actual milk bag cutter. I insist on the "snippit" brand, because I love my family.
Second best is with a pair of sharp scissors, and third best is with a knife. Depending on the knife used, you can end up with scraggly torn plastic that causes drips. I know, because despite my obsessiveness about a good cut, my laziness has often won out and I've used whatever was closest to hand, including crummy knives. Last, I guess if you were really stuck, you could use your teeth. I have never done that.
In conclusion, please note that drinking milk straight from the bag is an acquired skill, and should not be undertaken lightly.
Well there you have it; Rantwick's primer on the use of bag milk. If even one less American or other traveller to Canada is spared the mind-blowing impact of such a bizarre thing thanks to this post, it will have been worth it.