Personally, I'd never rule out the possibility that the Vietnamese people could have adopted fresh milk in coffee, with or without refrigeration, HAD THEY WANTED TO. I mean, have you seen what this place is about? Excelling in less than ideal circumstances is just what they do.

One might obliquely argue that the post-colonial explosion in coffee drinking by the Vietnamese population was aided by canned milk's refrigeration independence, but that is a different matter; it is a consequence of its adoption instead of its cause.

As such, the use of canned milk was much more a status symbol rooted in French fears than any sort of practical adaptation to circumstance. Canned milk was adopted *in spite of* the availability of fresh milk.

French milk companies went so far as to place highly racist ads around the colony suggesting that milk from Tamil suppliers smelled bad because of who was handling it. They actively cultivated the idea among Vietnamese populations.

We may find it incongruous today to imagine the French expressing disdain for local produce in favor of processed alternatives, but they went out of their way to pay MORE for canned and powdered French milk and shunned the fresh milk available by home delivery.

But as this milk was largely supplied by immigrant Tamils, French colonists turned their noses up at it and feared it was "contaminated" by its non-French origin.

As Erica Peters describes in her fantastic work of 19th century food history, there was rapidly growing dairy production (with fresh milk home delivery) in the colony at a time of coffee's growth in popularity.

Everything in the below passage points to limitations in access to the presumed superior product, but it wasn't scarcity that led to canned milk's early adoption and popularity.

A brief thread on a commonly reported origin story for the use of sweetened condensed milk in (mentioned in this article) that assumes:

A population that would have rather done otherwise ended up *resorting to* using the inferior canned product.

DOCTOR: i have just the thing, there are some plums in the icebox, you should eat them, so sweet, so cold

Vietnam by Night 

Bánh xèo Variations 

Guess the Condiment 

Stewed Tuna Eye 

Show more
Scholar Social

Scholar Social is a microblogging platform for researchers, grad students, librarians, archivists, undergrads, academically inclined high schoolers, educators of all levels, journal editors, research assistants, professors, administrators—anyone involved in academia who is willing to engage with others respectfully. Read more ...