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Dave Spencer Is Searching for the Perfect Chocolate Milk

It's good, but it ain't the best. (USDAgov, Flickr.com)

While I am drastically cutting back on my “sweets” intake for 2012, one weakness remains. And, actually, I can’t really call it a weakness because it just provides me far too much joy. It’s chocolate milk.

Thing is, I’m not sure I have had the “perfect” chocolate milk since I was in middle school. Now there are functional chocolate milks–the lowfat, organic kind–that are perfect for post-workout situations. And that’s good since I’ve joined the Y. But again they’re functional. For me, “perfect” means a specific flavor. And now you’re probably thinking, “Well…isn’t chocolate that flavor?” Yes, it is. But I’m looking for chocolate milk that tastes EXACTLY like the kind they used to serve at Cornell’s Restaurant in Owensboro.

It was located on New Hartford Road behind where the 25th Street IGA now stands. It changed owners and its name when I was 12 or 13. And the “perfect” chocolate milk was gone out of my life, seemingly for good. It was amazing. They made it themselves. When you’d order it, it would come out of a great big silver machine. They’d just pull down the lever and liquid excellence would fill your glass. And I suppose that’s why it’s been so hard to find its duplicate. Cornell’s didn’t purchase it from a wholesale outfit that sold institutional food. So it’s all taste-testing and guesswork.

I'll go to Europe! That's it! (cuttlefish, Flickr.com)

Dean’s is good, but it’s not it. And forget Prairie Farms. They make a sensational holiday custard but the chocolate milk isn’t what I’m looking for. I’ve even tried to make my own using regular milk and store-bought mixes. Not the same. When I travel across the country, I sample the brands I’ve never heard of to see if “they’re the one!” But to no avail. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had very good chocolate milk. But this Cornell’s chocolate milk just had a unique flavor. It was rich and thick and apparently came from a secret recipe someone took to his grave. I’ve even had chocolate milk in Wisconsin, America’s Dairy Land. No dice. It was good, but it just wasn’t the same. I may never find what I’m looking for, but I can’t exactly say I haven’t enjoyed the search.

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