We landed in Staniel Cay. This is a big stop for tourists because of the swimming pigs on neighboring. Big Major Cay. Staniel Cay is the first island south of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. So, boats heading south are usually in need of fresh vegetables, bread, eggs and milk. We too need all of the pre-mentioned items after spending almost a month of isolation in the park. Cindy handles all of our provisioning and does a fantastic job. We haven’t had a need for anything since leaving Ft. Lauderdale about a month ago.
Imagine having to grocery shop for every item you will need for 3 months knowing you can’t just pop out to the store and buy something if you happen to forget an item. Now add to that the dilemmas of limited freezer space, limited refrigeration space and a humid environment where things quickly go stale. We are in great shape for staples but our fresh items are all gone. Staniel Cay has two small shops selling groceries. I can’t really refer to them as grocery stores since they are both smaller than the living room of our old house. Please remember only about 100 people reside full-time on Staniel Cay. We’re darn lucky they have a store. The two stores are fondly referred to as the Pink Store and the Blue Store. Guess why. This week the Pink Store is closed as the owner is on vacation and off the island. I wonder where people who live in the Bahamas go for a vacation. The stores have no prices on anything. If you want it, you pay for it.
We both love milk. In land life, we would drink about a gallon of milk every two days. We purchased our milk at Costco because it was always about a dollar cheaper per gallon than the local supermarket. If you do the math, that’s about 180 gallons a year. At a dollar savings each, this more than paid for an Executive Membership at Costco. We love Costco. Oh, how I fondly remember the good old days of unlimited cheap milk.
Aboard Cream Puff, if we jam our refrigerator with milk, we can stockpile about 4 gallons. We have to keep some room for the other stuff needing refrigeration. We ration fresh milk consumption like the old British Navy rationed rum. It’s a hard life! When the fresh milk is gone then the powdered milk supply kicks in. We don’t have to ration powdered milk. It tastes like crap. We have found adding a little vanilla helps the taste. And, it has to be ice cold to drink. Then, and only then, it is tolerable. Barely tolerable.
I sometimes wonder if Carnation has ever tasted it own product. I can almost hear the conversation between the marketing executive and his boss inside the Carnation Headquarters:
MARKETING EXEC: I think with a little research and development we could make our powdered milk taste better.
BOSS: Why don’t you focus your efforts on a product with better sales? Nobody buys this stuff.
MARKETING EXEC: Well, I think powdered milk could taste better and if it did we could sell more. There is nothing in the USA market today that tastes good. We could be the first.
BOSS: Research and Development costs money. If we are going to spend money on R&D it should be on a product that has better sales.
MARKETING EXEC: Yes but, it could have better sales if it tasted better.
BOSS: If you change the taste you could lose the base of customers who already buy it and like the way it taste right now.
MARKETING EXEC: Perhaps they would buy more if it tastes better. A focus group could help us.
BOSS: Are you willing to stake your career on this?
MARKETING EXEC: Never mind. It was just a thought. Have I told you lately how much I like working here?
We have tried just about every brand of powdered milk sold in the USA. Yes, all three of them. The best so far is mix ‘n drink. We found it at Wal-Mart and purchased a ton of it. If we add vanilla, a little sugar, or mix it with a little evaporated canned milk we can manage to drink it or put it on cereal. But even doctored up, it is still not nearly as delicious as a good size glass of ice cold fresh skim milk. The other day, I thought about adding rum to it. Hmmm. I might be on to something here.
What about tetra-pack milk, you ask, like Parmalat? Have you ever tasted Parmalat? Need I say more? There are good tetra-pack milk products in the world. They are just not available in the USA. When in Europe we shopped at Carrefour (like a super Wal-Mart, but nicer, much nicer). Carrefour had all sorts of shelf stable milk products. I don’t remember the band of the particular one we purchased but it tasted pretty good. So, good tasting shelf stable is possible. The science has been done. No need to put another man on the moon. But, where is it?
In one port last year we got LaLa milk. It was in a box like Parmalat milk but tasted a million times better than Parmalat. We think it is made in Mexico. The Bahamas imports a lot of grocery items from Mexico. We can’t seem to find LaLa again. Perhaps as we continue to push south it may pop up again. If it does, we’ll buy a couple of cases. For some good tasting shelf stable un-refrigerated milk we might even be willing to give up some space from our wine stash. Na! On second thoughts, that probably will not happen. In the meantime, we are pretty happy since the Blue store had milk today. We were able to snag a couple of gallons. It’s rationing time again.