I don’t really want to review chocolate milk, which is a fine thing to drink. I never bought it as a recovery beverage, no matter how many triathletes told me in all sincerity that they quaffed it by the gallon after being bad at three sports instead of just one. In fact, the idea of consuming dairy products in the caloric vacuum of a post-ride feeding frenzy gives me the gags.
I once did a hard, summertime event and the organizer had hired a food truck for the after party whose specialty was grilled cheese sandwiches. I appreciate a free (not really) sandwich like the next person, but with sweat still running down my face, I could hardly bring the melty mess to my mouth. All around me, people were bolting down liquidy gouda with bacon and avocado, and I just thought, “No. For the love of all that’s holy, no.”
I don’t really want to review chocolate milk, because I’m on vacation right now, and what I should really be reviewing is chocolate ice cream, since that is currently 50% of my intake. Chocolate ice cream is delicious. There. Reviewed it.
My youngest son, who is a vanilla man, said to me that he felt it was unfair that vanilla, the flavor, had become synonymous with being boring. Chocolate, he argued, was every bit as boring as vanilla, and I didn’t see that I could argue with him. I suspected that we weren’t really talking about chocolate and vanilla though. I think he meant that I am a boring old man, and vanilla-or-not he intended one day to dance on my grave. He can be tough to read though.
I reckon that a period of three-hours, minimally, is necessary for me to hydrate and consume sufficient calories that I am emotionally prepared to reengage with dairy products, except as they might soften the hammer blow of the post-ride coffee. What we’re really talking about is a chocolate milk no-go-zone.
I don’t really want to review chocolate milk, because doing a good job of it requires picking apart the nutritional positives and negatives of sugary milk, and frankly that’s a pretty vanilla (i.e. boring) approach to a review. Suffice it to say that, generally speaking, chocolate is good for your soul, and so you’d be tempted to think that it’s just the thing to reinvigorate your crushed spirit after a hard effort, but then you have to consider the milkiness of the milk and its attendant effects on your digestion. (I’m stifling a small gag response even as I type). So I don’t really care about the need to replenish sugar and calcium, or about milk’s possible hydrative powers.
The medium, in this case, really is the message. Would you pop off your saddle after a threshold-style effort and dive under a lactating cow for a quick teat blast?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Robot, are you lactose intolerant?” I can see why you’d think that. But the answer is no. Digestively speaking, I can tolerate a lot of lactose, as evidenced by the really shocking quantity of chocolate ice cream (preferably with whipped cream) I’ve shoveled into my cakehole on this holiday in the sun. If I were lactose intolerant, not another person would be able to sleep in this rented house, including myself. I will leave your imagination to fill in all the sensory details on that scenario. Go on. Take a minute.
I am not lactose intolerant, even if, as a sporting drink, I will not tolerate lactose.
The primary reason I don’t really want to review chocolate milk is that chocolate milk is blameless. Chocolate milk is immaculate. The human person who first mixed chocolate into high-fat cow’s milk should be canonized and given a holiday with a parade and maybe even a stupid greeting card tradition. It pains me to say a harsh word against chocolate milk.
Put it this way, if I had called chocolate milk on the phone and said I needed to talk to it, then met it down by the beach, I’d say, “Let’s walk and talk.” And chocolate milk would come along, bopping and shuffling, because let’s be honest, when is chocolate milk not cheerful? Eventually, we’d come to a bench away from the summer crowds, and I’d say, “Let’s sit here,” and chocolate milk would say, “Oh yeah, you had something you said you wanted to talk about.”
I’d fumble with my zipper a little and look out at the ocean, and then I’d say, “Hey, you know I love you right?”
And CM would say, “Yeah, buddy. I know.”
And I’d say, “But the thing is, I don’t want to drink you after I ride my bike. Oh, I know. You didn’t get any less delicious while I was out there pedaling around. You’re the best. So reliable. So creamy. The problem is me, not you. I just can’t do it. In fact, I’m feeling mildly nauseous right now, even thinking about it.”
Chocolate milk would say, “You know there’s a whole ad campaign about me? There’s scientists who say I’m just exactly what you need. And so what if those ads and those scientists are paid for by a bunch of guys who sell chocolate milk? So what? Are you saying that you know better than science, better than triathletes?”
“Look, like I said,” I’d answer, “It’s me, not you. I believe the chocolate scientists. I believe all the scientists, and definitely the triathletes. I have a liberal arts degree for chrissakes. I don’t know ANYTHING. But I do know, that if I drink you after a long, hard ride, you’re going to end up on someone’s shoes, probably my own, and I just don’t love you like that. Not anymore.”
And you know what? Chocolate milk doesn’t care. Chocolate milk is like Santa Claus. It knows it’s the best thing going. It doesn’t need my approval. It doesn’t care when I drink it, or if I drink it at all. I’ve been talking about chocolate milk long enough at this point that those of you out there who aren’t lactose intolerant are thinking about a glass right now. That’s how good chocolate milk is. And that’s the real review.