Wednesday, February 28, 2024

ON THE OTHER HAND – Price of progress

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I LAMENT the passing of many things, but none more than Pine Hill Dairy “fresh” pasteurised milk. It’s the end of an era.
My son and I were fanatics about the 2% milk. He drank it like water and I drank a litre a day until my deprive-me-of-all-enjoyment sadist of a doctor cautioned me. Our son had got to the point, when we travelled, where he would taste the milk of the country, make a face, and mutter about it not being Pine Hill milk.
Pine Hill milk was for us one of two hallmarks of Barbadian deliciousness. The only one left now is BICO Dutch chocolate ice cream.
To my shock, Pine Hill stopped making our milk. Now there’s only ultra-high temperature processed (UHT) milk that tastes like diluted evaporated milk. Yuk!
It was so cleverly done too. I noticed the change in the carton with a different top, but otherwise looking like the old carton. It was in the refrigerated section of the supermarket so I assumed it was the same old milk I loved. I didn’t bother to read the carton.
And since I had it at first only in tea and coffee, I frankly couldn’t tell the difference. Then Pine Hill put out these full page ads announcing the new UHT milk. I thought it was a different line of product. Then I read a description of the carton. I rushed to the fridge and poured some and drank it. O, the horror!
I understand perfectly why they’re doing it. The old pasteurised milk was highly perishable and would occasionally go off before the “sell by” date. The dairy therefore reduces spoilage as close to zero as possible.
Now transporting and delivering the UHT milk poses no problems; it doesn’t require refrigeration, and it has a shelf life of several months. So the dairy saves a lot of money and the supermarkets and mini-marts also find the new product more convenient to handle.
The largest package for the milk is the one-litre size because, once opened, it has a recommended refrigerated shelf life of four days, compared with about 12 days for the old milk.
The only member of the food chain who isn’t happy is me. I get a product that tastes terrible and has a shorter shelf life. The only consolation is that it’s slightly cheaper.
I accept that UHT is the future. I just don’t like the future.
BICO, do NOT deprive me of your Dutch chocolate! I’ll emigrate.
 
THE FUTURE of international cricket is Twenty20.
Even at that form of the game, requiring much less discipline and thought, West Indies are struggling. It’s not that we lack talent. Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith are two exciting cricketers.
They don’t lack talent; they lack judgement. The judgement to play cricket as the situation dictates (remember Sobers’ amazing 113 against England on a disastrous pitch in Jamaica in 1968? That’s greatness).
It’s invidious to single them out, because there are so many more players like them. Let’s face facts, apart from Lara and Chanderpaul, we have produced no cricketers of international calibre in the last 15 years.
Test cricket will survive but only by making compromises. Minimum standards for Test-playing teams will have to be imposed and upheld. It’s doubtful whether West Indies could meet those standards.
Either that, or the ICC [International Cricket Council] will create an international premier league of seven teams, capable of drawing crowds and providing exciting competition, and a lower league of everyone else, which would include West Indies, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Idonundastan, and so on. Relegation and promotion would apply to the two leagues.
The game will have to change as well: under lights, in coloured uniforms, white ball, and each side playing two innings of 75 overs each over three days.
I accept that’s the future. I just don’t like it.
 
* Peter Laurie is a retired diplomat and a commentator on social issues.

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