Milk Review

Review by Magda

If you like the history of food, this is your book! It is full of fascinating and well-researched history and hard science about milk. We learn when and where the oldest cheese was made, which breed of cows produces the most milk while being the smallest breed of cow at the same time, and there is even a Greek myth about the creation of milk. We learn about Jefferson’s obsession with ice cream and how ice cream was banned during WWII because of the food shortages. Parmesan cheese was even mentioned in 1357 in The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, and Thomas Jefferson had Parmesan cheese shipped to him to Virginia. The book tells the story of the famous Camembert imitator, Fidel Castro, who even placed his cows in air-conditioned stables to protect them from the heat of his island. It also takes on the most recent argument of raw milk vs. pasteurized milk and touches the subject of lactose intolerance and a medical theory that humans should not drink milk past a very young age. Maybe it is for this reason that the consumption of milk was declining in the 20th century, but new industrial uses were found. Casein is used for making glue and used in color printing. The most recent serious concerns are with cows’ contribution toward global warming. The author of this book, Mark Kurlansky, is an award-winning journalist and non-fiction book author. Some of his previous excellent books were on the topic of food and culinary arts. 

Find Milk: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky at one of our branches.