The Milk Question
Updated: Oct 20, 2022
After a long evening of prepping for the ACT, which I took just this past weekend, I decided I was in need of something sugary – I deserved it! So, being the somewhat “relatable and quirky” person I am, I made myself some cereal. Posting one of my favorite ways of preparing cereal, chocolate milk and Frosted Flakes, led me to an array of different responses on my Snapchat. Some said I was gross and others said the concoction was ingenious. It was only after defending my favored mixture that I came across a meme on Instagram:
It may have been the fact that I was delirious from studying but either way I could not seem to give a straight answer. What was the milk: a broth, a sauce, or a beverage?
I had to share the question. My initial guess was that most people were going to say broth. This is because the purpose of broth is to be a carrier of solid food from soup to mouth via a liquid. But I was truly shocked to see that there was no clear winner. In the rest of this article, I will present the case for all 3 answers.
Broth has a few factors that are taken into consideration to support its candidacy. As mentioned previously, broth, logically, would seem to be the most aesthetically “right” answer. The idea of broth is best exemplified as the liquid part of soup. It is common knowledge that you “drink” the liquid using a spoon (or at the end of your meal when you tilt the bowl to angle the liquid straight to your mouth) the same way you would a hot soup. While milk on its own may be a beverage, the crumbs and sugar of the cereal dissolve into the milk when it comes into contact with it. This turns the famed duo from being classified as a mixture, into a solution- furthering the broth argument. Another aspect of broth is the purpose behind it: to transport the solid contents to the mouth via a liquid that compliments the food. Cereal paired with milk makes for a fulfilling and tasty breakfast, adored by the youth of North America for generations. The whole concept of consuming cereal is to consume the part that makes cereal, cereal: the dried grains. These facts of the proper accompaniment, the purpose of the meal, the aesthetic of cereal, and the scientific notion of mixtures and solutions make broth a strong answer to the milk question.
While sauce may be the least likely of the answer choices, the arguments are still present. We must first look at the true purpose behind sauce: to enhance and accentuate the main part of the dish. Is it not true that the milk in fact augments the flavor and adds a new texture to the cereal? Next, sauce is poured over a food item, whereas broth is added in the cooking process. Now this adds a huge distinction between sauce and a broth. The use of the sauce element when preparing the meal makes the most sense when comparing it to broth. With broth, the liquid must accompany the solid for long periods of time, but sauce, on the other hand, does not.
When I asked my mom this question, she answered beverage because of two reasons: the uniqueness of milk and the viscosity. Since the popularization of drinking milk in the 1800s, it has been one of the most iconic drinks on the menu. The idea of milk being anything other than a beverage just confuses and often times frustrates some. Moving onto the viscosity of milk, my mother argues that it simply is too thick to be a broth, but not thick enough to be a sauce. Unfortunately, the arguments stop there.
After conclusive analysis, one would think the answer would be definitive, but it is with a heavy heart, that I regret to inform you that indeed none of this matters any longer as my wife has been slain.