Gadgets and Goodies: Milk by Anne Mendelson

Feeding Your Family

Let’s talk about milk.

Did you know:

-  that humans started milking animals around 7000 BC?
-  that most of the world’s adults are unable to digest milk?
-  that today most whole milk has been separated by centrifuge and recombined to federally-set fat level (3.25% fat in most states)?
-  that most unhomogenized milk has a fat level closer to 4% -- or even 5% in a really good herd?

MILKIn Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages (Knopf, 2008), Anne Mendelson details the history of milk in tones alternately lovingly – as when she talks about age old recipes for yogurt – and viciously – as when she describes the ruin caused by technological advances such as ultra-pasteurization. She also offer “120 Adventurous Recipes”, ranging from easy favorites like Lemon Tart to more surprising recipes such as Bulgur Pilaf with Whey.

Food geeks, dairy-lovers, and home cooks may find this detailed history fascinating. Her impassioned descriptions of the way milk used to be moved this non-milk-drinker to seek out goats’ milk yogurt, and unhomogenized milk – with happy results.

Dismissing the surfeit of milk options available in every grocery store, Mendelson writes that only when we can easily find unhomogenized, small-batch milk that comes from small dairies, can we congratulate ourselves on having so many choices in the supermarket. I found some in my community; maybe you can, too. 

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Feeding Your Family feature articles for April 2009