One of the most puzzling aspects of Canadian culture is bagged milk. Bags of milk appear in a few other nations (India, Scandinavia, Poland, Israel, Hungary, Argentina and Uruguay, according to Wikipedia) but Canada is the largest nation where bagged milk is a common sight.
It’s one of the few truly Canadian images. Maple leaves, Canada geese and beavers all appear in the United States, but not bagged milk. It’s the one iconic Canadian symbol that refuses to cross below the 49th parallel.
And it completely confuses and scares Americans.
Bagged milk is one of the easiest ways to spot a Canadian. If you present a Canadian with a plastic bag filled with white liquid they will say “Oh, a bag of milk.” An American presented with the same scenario will tilt their head slightly to the left and blink repeatedly. Bagged milk is a completely bizarre sight to an American. They can’t understand it. Some Americans have even been known to run away from bagged milk. It’s that powerful.
Apparently bags of milk are more environmentally friendly. They use less plastic and take up less space in landfills. Even if that’s true, you have to wonder what was going through the mind of the first person who decided to put a liquid into a bag. It boggles the mind. The two things seemingly do not go together. You don’t see bags of juice or bags of vodka do you? Though, I think the vodka bag would probably sell quite well.
There are few things that are more Canadian than bags of milk. Jugs of milk are almost unheard of in the Great White North. A few convenience stores sell them, but real Canadians want to drink their milk from a thin piece of flexible plastic. It’s the truly Canadian way.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the milk bag more closely resembles a cow’s udder. But then again, you don’t see Canadians running around and drinking directly out of cows, now do you? No, we save our energy for moose chasing and beaver racing.