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Sherlock Meta: Lactose Issues of 221B - CaffieneKittySpace
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caffienekitty
caffienekitty
Sherlock Meta: Lactose Issues of 221B
I noticed this a long while back and keep meaning to mention it. I might not be the first to point this out, but I haven't seen it mentioned before.

I think I've solved a very serious and epically perplexing mystery on the BBC series Sherlock. I do believe I have indeed. I think I have solved... THE MYSTERY OF THE MILK!

Dun dun dunnnnn! *gasp!*



I've seen all kinds of crazy theories and questions floated in fic and discussions about why 221b seems to always be out of milk. Reasons including milk baths, any experiment you can think of, stand-in for large quantities of blood in experiments involving the behaviour of proteins, and so on. (Really, it's just a running gag put in by the writers, but pft! Real world logic. *handwave*) However I think I have the real reason there's never any milk.

Everyone keeps wondering what Sherlock does with all the milk? Nothing. Sherlock has nothing to do with the reason they keep running out of milk.


To demonstrate, these caps are from the early scenes of A Study in Pink.

John awake in the middle of the night after a nightmare.




John in the morning with his tea-and-apple breakfast.




Do you see it?

Here, I'll brighten them and circle it.




The milk is out on the counter in the same position in both shots. There's no sign of John having a tea or a glass of milk in the post-nightmare shot, which would indicate that the milk has been left out since sometime before he went to sleep. It's still there in the morning after he's fixed his tea and gone to faff around for who knows how long with his laptop during breakfast, so it'll still be out a while yet.

THEREFORE, I believe the milk at 221b Baker Street is forever in short supply because Dr. John Watson tends to leave it on the counter overnight and it goes off faster.

I repeat: Dun dun dunnnnn! *gasp!*

AND! I even have an in-character theory for why he might do this! In field mess halls when milk is made available during a meal, the jugs are often put out on the mess tables by mess staff at the start of the meal and put away at the end. (Admittedly I'm basing that assumption on very limited experience.) John would be out of the habit of putting away the milk because of this and tend to just unconsciously leave it where it sits.

In short, John has a combat-zone-related dairy dysfunction. Post Traumatic Milk Disorder? Anyway, I think this calls for an "Aw, John." Poor guy.

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livia_carica From: livia_carica Date: December 19th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
No wonder he looks sad! He can't have milk in his tea!

Poor John and his PTMD :(
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's missing vital tryptophans!
embroiderama From: embroiderama Date: December 19th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
combat-zone-related dairy dysfunction

Heee, poor John.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Indeed!
wallhaditcoming From: wallhaditcoming Date: December 19th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
My god. It all makes sense now! Poor Sherlock, for taking the brunt of the fandom's blame.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Usually it's safe to assume Sherlock is to blame for any oddness at 221B, but in this case he might be blameless.
lucdarling From: lucdarling Date: December 19th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
A++ for deductive reasoning!
It makes perfect sense!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! :)
oxfordtweed From: oxfordtweed Date: December 19th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
ahaha, that's hilarious. Everyone's always so quick to blame Sherlock for everything, and here this one's John's doing.

My husband does the SAME thing, and I drives me mad. I'll wake up in the morning, and will be able to tell exactly what he had before going to bed. Because it's all still out on the counter. D:
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
That would be annoying. I'm glad my cat can't open the fridge. :-D
eleanorb From: eleanorb Date: December 19th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
You could leave milk out on the worktop for a day at least without it going off - especially if it's skim - unless of course the room is heated so much John and Sherlock can go around naked.

There's a thought.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
General rule on milk storage I've heard is for every 20 minutes at room temperature, milk loses a day off its sell-by date (which is set conservatively to allow for some vagaries in storage temperature during use and transport). While it wouldn't insta-spoil, leaving it out would shorten the milk's usable lifespan considerably, especially if John kept doing it, and make them need to buy milk more often. :-)

Or they've got the heat turned up and run around stark naked when the cameras are off. Whichever.
errantcomment From: errantcomment Date: December 19th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well done!
Now perhaps Sherlock will stop pouting and let me write him properly.
...
Nope. Since your deduction is just amazing and I am pretty impressed with your eagle eye action, I assume it's something to do with me.
*goes away to glee about new head-canon*
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay for new head-canon! \o/
travels_in_time From: travels_in_time Date: December 19th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha, Post-Traumatic Milk Disorder. :D
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a sad affliction. All that dairy, gone before its time.
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sure! Why not.
(Deleted comment)
flawedamythyst From: flawedamythyst Date: December 19th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
But of course! How elementary!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
There had to be a reason. XD
ladygray99 From: ladygray99 Date: December 19th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fucking brilliant! I had a flat mate that would always leave the milk on the counter. It drove me fucking batty. There's also a kind of hipper processed milk that you can leave out for a long time and it wont go off. They sell it to campers and islanders down here but I would not be surprised if various military organizations use it. He's obviously just forgotten that milk goes off.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Too true. Really they should switch to tinned or powdered, or just get it in half-pints.
aescu From: aescu Date: December 19th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
O_o
you are right!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Every once in a while, that happens, and it shocks me too. XD

Your icon is very appropriate.
jay_kateel From: jay_kateel Date: December 19th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just laughed. So hard. WE WERE BLAMING SHERLOCK ALL THIS TIME.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know! Sherlock's not the sole source of mayhem in that flat.
girlingoldboots From: girlingoldboots Date: December 19th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
That makes sense, but I want to thank you for the bad places my mind went too when you said milk baths, because that would explain Sherlock's lovely complexion.

And by thanks I mean I hate you and I'm already three hundred words into something dealing with this.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
*cackles evilly*
willow_41z From: willow_41z Date: December 19th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I noticed that in the beginning of Study in Pink, and I wondered about it, too!

However, the whole milk fanon thing has left me a bit confused. As far as I can tell, the only time milk is mentioned is right at the end of Great Game. What am I missing?
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 19th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's in a few texts, and if you look at the tie-in websites it's mentioned there several times as well.
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