Dollar Stretcher – Use Milk in Coffee

The January, 1918 issue of Ladies Home Journal had several Dollar Stretcher tips which show “how women’s wits have overcome high prices.” One tip left me saying “dah.”

Cream will not be missed in your coffee if milk is first heated, poured in the bottom of the cup and the coffee slowly added.

Was this a new idea in 1918? I generally use milk in my coffee, and I don’t even bother to heat it first or put it in the bottom of the cup. Works just fine.

44 thoughts on “Dollar Stretcher – Use Milk in Coffee

  1. That one has me puzzled as well… unless they used more milk in the coffee than coffee,and if the coffee was that strong it curdled the milk when they poured it into the coffee..than just use less coffee grounds…

      1. Since I use skim milk in my coffee if I have the chance I usually heat it in the cup first before I pour in the coffee, otherwise the coffee is too cool for me. You need more skim milk obviously than 2% or cream to make it “milky”.

  2. So, cream was more expensive than milk, I guess? On the farm, they just poured the cream right off the top of the bottle–remember when it separated like that?

    1. Aww the good old days. Your comment definitely brings back memories of growing up on a dairy farm, and the wonderful fresh milk with the cream on top. I didn’t appreciate it back then – and now I can’t get it.

  3. I suspect we find this odd partly because our cultural context has changed. When my mother (born in 1918) was a child, she and her sisters would walk to their grandparents’ farm and carry home buckets of milk. They’d skim the cream and use it for coffee. Even when I was a kid, we’d often get milk from a farm and skim the cream. I suspect most people today never have seen milk with the cream floating on top, although Whole Foods carries a brand of milk that’s minimally enough processed to have that. I first had the brand at a friend’s house, and was startled when she said, “Be sure and shake it up good.”

    Anyway: I wonder if homogenization didn’t eventually wean people away from using cream in coffee, since they had to purchase it separately, and it would have added to the weekly grocery bill.

    1. You may be right that people were more likely to use cream in their coffee back in the days before homogenization. Like you, I was recently surprised to learn that Whole Foods carried non-homogenized milk. My son bought a quart of it was he was visiting over Thanksgiving.

  4. It’s all acquired habit isn’t it? I do remember I thought I would never go without cream in my coffee. Then someone said it was fattening. Now and for years I love it black.

    1. Coffee is a habit. I never thought about it quite this way before, but I think you’re right that whether we drink it with cream, milk, or black is also a habit.

    1. Yes, that’s also my impression – that people used to cream would miss the taste and texture of the fat if they use milk. (Texture might not be quite the right word, but I can’t think of a better descriptor.)

  5. We Swedish Lutherans wouldn’t have thought of using anything other than the cream skimmed from the top of the milk bottle. When I was a little girl, I used to ask for milk in my little cup of coffee instead of cream. My big sister told me that it was rude, and I should have it black if I refused cream. So I went black. Many years later, in grad school, I consumed countless cups of black coffee, only to realize that the pounds were piling on because of all the sugar. Now, when I have coffee, it’s black. The evolution of coffee drinking?

  6. I used a creamer until I had a nutritionist who suggested I use part milk and part creamer. It saved calories, but still tasted pretty good. I wish I liked hot black coffee. Ice it, and I’d happily drink it black all day long.

    1. Food was very expensive in 1918, so people were really looking for ways to save money. If was during World War I and a lot of food was being sent to Europe for the troops.

  7. I usually add cold milk to coffee. I haven’t ever been a fan of cream in coffee but I think cream or milk with high fat content act as flavour enhancers to astringent coffee. Probably when cream was added to coffee, less sugar was needed.

    1. For some reason, I drink coffee either black or with cream/milk and sugar. I don’t know why, but it always seems like if I add cream or milk that it also needs sugar.

      1. Well, that sounds okay, and more reasonable than my habit of sometimes needing to have my coffee in certain cups. One day I may want my coffee in a blue cup. Another day I may feel the coffee tastes best in a different cup. 😀

  8. In the books I read from the turn of the last century, they used cream and lots of it in their coffee. I use milk or if I want to live dangereously, ice cream. My parents used evaporated milk.

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