Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas (Hardcover)

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Milk is a controversial substance. Is it cruel? How do we keep it fresh and safe and healthy? Which animal produces the best milk? What about breastmilk? Kurlansky leads us through humanity's difficult relationship with milk, starting in ancient times all the way up to the present. He goes into how different cultures have used it for cooking and drinking and eating (including recipes). He also talks about the different animals and breeds used for different products, like cheese and yogurt. This is a fascinating and very readable history for anyone interested in the dairy industry.

— Amanda


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.

Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the nineteenth century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And 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.

About the Author

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of Havana, Cod, Salt, Paper, The Basque History of the World, 1968, and The Big Oyster, among other titles. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appetit's Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award. He lives in New York City.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781632863829
ISBN-10: 1632863820
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Publication Date: May 8th, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English