Shaking Milk

“One last peculiar thing my grandmother did was that she would insist that everyone shake the milk up in the bottle before they drink it. She was from the old country and she would be adamant that ‘all the good stuff was at the bottom’ so she would make everyone shake the milk. When we would try to explain to her that the milk was pasteurized and that the whole thing was ‘good milk’ she would explain that I did not know what I was talking about and insist I shake the milk to get the nutrients. Once I even caught myself telling my friend that she had to shake the milk to get all the nutrients, then I caught myself and realized what I was saying was ridiculous.”

Jelena’s grandmother’s insistence that the milk be shaken was probably due to the fact that non-homogenized milk, which is milk that has not been processed, will form a thick layer at the top similar to diary cream. In order to make the liquid return to milk, one must shake up the jug before pouring it. Her grandmother most likely never adjusted to processed milk.

Most interesting though is that Jelena even caught herself saying that the milk needed to be shaken, before catching herself. This is a good example about how folk beliefs and legends catch on. It might seem simple, but Jelena telling her friend that means the information might get disseminated and the legend will continue to survive.