Bagged Milk

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
bags of milk on shelf
bags of milk on shelf

Thinking of Canada, what comes to mind usually consists of the following: the leaf of the maple tree and its respective syrup, moose, a frozen tundra, and of course very nice people. Many however are not aware of what may be the most objectively Canadian object, a bag of milk. As interesting as this is, what object lesson can I teach about my family and heritage through this weirdly packaged dairy product?

The answer is related to why milk is bagged here in the first place. One reason is that there are many benefits to this practice. It’s economically efficient and environmentally friendly, but there are also some cultural reasons. For example, Canadians use smaller portion sizes. The main point here is the cultural difference, and that’s why I think it’s a great representation for my family between my Canadian mom and American dad. For my mom who grew up with bagged milk, this was nothing special, when in reality it was different from the rest of the world. Other things turned out to be different too. However, differences like these gave her a greater appreciation for both American and Canadian culture. She showed me how even though they are very close, the two countries are very different, but growing up seeing both sides of the spectrum has given me a greater appreciation for my collective America-Canadian culture. Now when I look at a bag of milk I’m reminded of the similar and yet very different culture of Canada that I’ve been able to experience through my mom. 

Place(s): Canada
Year: 2001

– Jack Cowell

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant