Milk is central to many ancient creation myths, and although it is more prized in some cultures than others, the very fact that humans are mammals means that few societies have been indifferent to it.
Here, in a wide-ranging and fascinating survey of the history of humans and their remarkable consumption of the milk of other species, Mark Kurlansky examines which milks have been prized or shunned, what we know about when and where humans first began keeping animals for their milk, how they learned to preserve it in forms such as yogurt and cheese, and yes, just how often we have disagreed about whether it is good for us, how we should consume it, and countless other aspects of its cultural history.
Throughout the book Kurlansky has included more than 100 recipes, “because I believe recipes to be invaluable artifacts. They teach us about societies and the social order in which they were created. They tell us what life was like at the time when those dishes were first cooked.” And—with some exceptions—he also encourages people to try the recipes, drawn from sources as diverse as the ancient Roman text of Apicius, 18th-century British author Hannah Glasse, a modern Chinese celebrity chef, and legendary American baker Maida Heatter.
Fascinating and accessible.