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Baby step: alternatives to cow milk

Last week, while getting my kids ready for a week of summer camp, I reminded them that they were lucky to have a number of old friends enrolled in camp but that there would also be some new kids, who would hopefully become new friends. We sang that song I learned as a young Girl Scout:
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold.
My 8-year-old put on a thoughtful look, then updated the lyrics to better reflect what she considers precious:
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is cheese and one is milk.
Ahem. So, given the high value placed on cow dairy products in our family (and keep in mind that I was raised in America's Dairyland, the fair state of Wisconsin…) You may be surprised to learn (I sure was!) that I've made the switch to almond milk. I guess I'll blame it on the wonderful influence of Mark Bittman again. He's got this little chart in his How to Cook Everything book, that lists the varying qualities of the many milks out there: soy, nut, oat, rice, etc.

For a long time, cow milk has been a sacred cow of ours. Heck, we'll go down to one car, we'll cut back to one garbage can a month, we'll work more vegetarian meals into our life. But, give up cow milk? FORGET IT! DREAM ON! WE'D SOONER DIE!!

But then those voices in my head started talking to me again:

Voice: What would it hurt to try an alternative milk? You may like it!

Me: Shhhh! You be quiet. I'm trying to grocery shop, for crying out loud!

Tons of people already drink alternative milks, given the vast array of choices available. I'm three days into my new milk regimen. Mostly I drink milk in coffee, and that's it. It's a morning ritual. I never drank coffee before I lived in France as a college student, so for me, coffee means one thing: half dark roasted strong coffee, half steamed milk. That perfect warm mug of café au lait greeting me every morning.

Cafe au lait
I have no intention of changing my 8-year-old's milk of choice at this point. But have drastically cut down on the amount of milk my kids drink in the past few years. My 6-year-old is a little more open minded. When I bought the almond milk, she was all: 'Hey, can I try that?' Slowly but surely, we decrease the carbon footprint of our milk.

What kind of milk does your family enjoy? Any tips for those who might be contemplating a move away from their (sacred) cow?


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