Book Reviews

Book Review: Milk.

Cuneiform tablets unearthed by archaeologists in what used to be Babylonia and Sumeria inform us that milk was consumed and processed as far back as 3000 years.

Milk has been crucial for survival in many societies, but Far eastern and African populations who cannot digest lactose; it prevented them from consuming the less expensive form of fat, vitamin D and calcium.

On the other hand, Eurasian people benefited greatly from milk, not only by using it in liquid form, but converting it to cheese and yoghurt.

The popularity of milk had its ups and downs in 50 centuries, the author chronicles the history through thorough research.

Unfortunately, she does not deal with the causes of recent consumption decline, although at least in North America a lot of advertising tried and is still trying to reverse the trend.

India, now the largest producers and consumer of milk in the world, continues to be the leader mostly due to its age-old traditions of using ghee (clarified butter) for cooking.

The author examines the dairy culture in England, and Switzerland, where the claim of cows with names produce more milk than those that are “nameless” originated and is still in use. As an example she cites Daisy, the dairy cow that produced milk for ten more years than

her nameless sisters.

Milk, as everyone knows, is a very delicate product and must be distributed under strict temperature guidelines to ensure bacteria-free conditions.

Today, in western European and North American countries, milk production is highly regulated and controlled. In some countries marketing boards, that are euphemistically called “marketing boards”, function in reality as quota regulators that increase the price artificially to keep farmers happy.

Milk has also been a commodity subject to tampering and dilution in

the U S A, and in many other countries which has affected its reputation.

Scientists have developed cows that produce more milk, but, according to some, of inferior quality and taste.

The author created a valuable book, packed with information that everyone who consumes milk and other dairy products or sells same ought to read.

Highly recommended.

One Comment