Milk!
March 10, 2019 1:28 PM - by Mark Kurlansky - Subscribe

Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy--with recipes throughout. According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself.

... today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement, and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization.

Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
At this point Kurlansky could write on the history of cardboard and I'd happily read it. It was somewhat surreal reading about a substance I can no longer safely consume, but its a very good and very deep book. It's hard to imagine that pasteurization was ever controversial or fought against, when you think of the proven health benefits, but he goes into details about the history of something most of us take for granted. He covers everything you could think of in relation to dairy, so if you want to learn more (a lot more) about milk, give this book a try.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:36 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I am exactly the kind of nerd who loved Salt and Cod so I'll have to check this one out too!
posted by Wretch729 at 8:08 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Strange... I read this post and had to stop at the library to return some things. "Milk" was sitting on the front desk in the "recommended" shelves.

Homo neanderthalensis, I hope you only use your powers for good.
posted by Marky at 1:48 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I read most of my books through the Overdrive app for my local libraries these days, and unfortunately Milk! as an ebook is not available yet in either the DC or Arlington library systems. Coincidentally, I'm suddenly really interested in making my own kefir (tried some out for the first time at a farmer's market, was powerfully reminded of a yogurt drink I had as a kid in China), so I really need to track this book down to read more about it! Thanks, Homo neanderthalensis!
posted by devrim at 1:00 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


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