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I’ve started drinking organic milk that comes in glass bottles from Harmony Organic. I originally bought the milk from one of our local health food stores because I wanted the bottles to use in downloading my latest batch of family olive oil recently arrived from Sparta. Finding suitable bottles isn’t easy, and I thought the wider opening of the milk bottle would make the downloading of the oil from the large unwieldy 18 litre can a little easier.

Then a very strange thing happened: I noticed that I was actually enjoying drinking the milk more than usual. And since we’ve been buying Liberty organic non-ultrafiltered milk for years, it really isn’t the taste. The two brands taste pretty much the same. It struck me then that it must be the bottle!

Gestalt psychology teaches us that our immediate experience (the foreground) at any given moment is inseparable from the context (background) in which that experience is taking place. And that background is both a function of our past experience as well as the immediate time and place in which we are at any given moment. This means that what we are experiencing at any time is fluid, and that to expect the same experience from one time to the next is actually unreasonable, unless all variables remain the same.

You’ve surely noticed that a great wine you drank at the vineyard in Sonoma, somehow doesn’t taste quite as good once you’ve brought home those 12 bottles you bought. For me a Greek “frappé” coffee drunk at a seaside cafe in Crete bears no resemblance to the package I brought home with me along with all the paraphernalia for making it.

My early childhood, say till about 10 years old, had me drinking milk delivered in glass bottles by the milkman every couple of days. The cream had separated and was usually floating at the top, so you had to shake the bottle. It was delicious and left a thick white ring around my lips.

My teen years and into my early ’40’s saw milk coming in those disgusting plastic bags which one plopped into a plastic jug and clipped off one corner of the bag. If the bag hadn’t seated properly, the milk would surge out of the bag in all directions except into the glass.

And for the last 15 years or so, we’ve been buying milk in the 2 litre cartons with the plastic spout on the side. Not too bad a system, except for when the bottom seal of the carton isn’t so good and milk slowly oozes out into your fridge, or the carton softens and gets hard to grip without collapsing out of your hands.

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But I love these glass bottles. They have transformed my “milk experience” back to the sensual pleasures of childhood. Combined with a couple of homemade Greek cookies following my grandmother’s recipe (made by my daughter as my annual B-day and Christmas present), it’s like a time warp.

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