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Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  929 ratings  ·  185 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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Matt
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Mark Kurlansky, and Bloomsbury (USA) Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I remember an advertising campaign from my youth that extolled the virtues and health benefits of drinking milk. It stuck with me and I have tried to present the same positive outlook to my son. When I saw the latest Mark Kurlansky book, all about the history of milk, I could not help but wonde
...more
Clif Hostetler
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
By definition, all mammals produce milk for their young. Thus it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that in writing a history of milk consumption this book is an account of the history of mammalian life culminating with humans in charge of the world. As humans began utilizing milk from other mammals it also becomes the story of human progress and civilization from the perspective of diet. And of course a significant part of the story is that of humans learning how to change milk into forms that ...more
Stephen Robert Collins
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Choice Cuts is one of my favourite historical food books, so When Heard about this book I had to buy it.
Everybody has had milk at some time their lives with out milk the human race would not exist. End of story.
This a culinary history of the animal milk not mothers but Also like Choice Cuts got your crazy fun recipes, odd ball milk tools for the kitchen to the farm.
Full of illustrations & facts to have you laughing, felling sick & wowing!
It is only when think about milk that you resizes what y
...more
Trish
Kurlansky is justly famous for his earlier works about Salt and Cod, among other things, so when I saw this 2018 Bloomsbury Publishing nonfiction about Milk, I was interested. I was particularly interested to see what he would say about humans consuming milk after infancy, when approximately sixty percent of the world's human population appear to lose their tolerance for and ability to digest lactose. Europeans, Middle Easterners, North Africans and some of the Indian subcontinent appear to lack ...more
Patty
I'm a huge fan of Kurlansky. He's probably the most famous writer of microhistories currently, a genre I adore. Microhistories he's written include "Salt" and "Paper", books on oysters and cod, a history of just the year 1968 or the song “Dancing in the Street". You get the idea.

In this book, he takes on milk. Or, well, not only milk; Kurlansky also covers butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and all the other things that can be made out of milk. It's not just cows' milk either! He includes recipe
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Andy
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
To paraphrase an old joke, Now I know what milk looks like.

"Milk!" contains many interesting factoids and is well-researched with lots of references on important topics, e.g. "the milk question." Inexplicably however, a huge chunk of the book is taken up by historical recipes, and the text just rambles along in circles without a clear theme. In comparison with Kurlansky's best, it is very disappointing.
Bon Tom
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Incredible richness of fascinating details.
Many of the recipes make me want to try them, the others are there to raise the wonder and mystique about past times.

I would have preferred if the book took clearer stance about consuming unadulterated raw milk, which it doesn't. It simply lists pros and cons, with what I consider outdated "facts" about dangers of fat.

It would be 5 stars book if not for totally misplaced and very strange input of feminist viewpoints, even propaganda. Since the book is w
...more
Mich Must Read
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for this ARC.

We luxuriate in the richness of yummy butter, or at least I do. There is nothing more delicious to me than a simple croissant, flaky dough that has been laboriously layered with butter, and a cup of coffee. But apparently in certain cultures, I would be called a “butter stinker”. It’s these little tid-bits that I enjoyed in Milk. Milk is a social history that ignites a thoughtful conversation for such a simple product. It follows the
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Christine
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

I have to have milk with breakfast unless I am getting breakfast at work. But at home, a glass milk, cold milk, and then coffee. I need that nice cool glass of milk.

But I didn’t know much about milk until I read this book.

Kurlansky’s book is a tour of milk in history, but also a tour of yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.

And it has recipes!

Kurlansky starts with ancient history, exploring when milking first developed as well as pointing out that being lactose intoler
...more
Annie
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m the kind of person who likes to make everything in my life about reading--including food. When I come across an unfamiliar food mentioned in a book, or online, I’m likely to Google it, learn the etymology, find out where it’s from and when it was most popular in history, and, most importantly, make it for myself. Things like Welsh rarebit (mentioned in this book) or marrons glaces (I spent 3 days making them because they were mentioned in one of Proust’s novels). I’m the only vegetarian in m ...more
Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)
This was an ok read. The first half or so was difficult to slog through because of formatting. Kurlansky includes a ridiculous number of recipes in the early chapters, and while recipes are certainly important to food history, they were poorly integrated. The text was choppy and topics jumped wildly between some paragraphs. The later half of the book was much better—but there were no recipes there. Interesting topic, but not as well put together as his other work. Also not entirely sure what was ...more
Scott
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The weakest of Kurlansky's books that I have read. Little coherence, way too many recipes, and no overarching themes or arguments. There were a few interesting tidbit but hose could be reduced to thirty pages or so.
Lee Ellen
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the title suggests, this book is about milk in human history. It also necessarily discusses milk products: cheese, ice cream, yogurt, custards; since I have a nearly pathological love for cheese, I was quite engrossed in this book from the beginning. It also served somewhat as an enabler of my cheese abuse, since it is quite difficult to curtail a craving for fermented curd without indulging in the consumption of cheesy comestibles.

While it deals mostly with cows, there’s also lots of discuss
...more
TMac
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was a disappointment. I didn't learn much, the recipes were too many and not of any interest to try. Some of the "facts" seemed questionable but the book content was so uninspiring I didn't even research anything on my own.
Dree
Thanks to netgalley for providing me with a Kindle edition galley of this book.

I have read Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, and actually enjoyed this one much more. Not surprisingly, he uses a similar writing style. Much more of this book, however, focuses on post-1800 history, and on the US. Few cultures really drank milk before the 19th century, and most milk went to cheese and yogurt on a small-scale local basis.

I have also read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, but had no idea there was a simi
...more
Mike Cross
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is pure pulp non-fiction. It seems that the author just grabbed every fact and story about milk he could and loosely organized them into chapters. Very little if any depth on any topic. You could pick the book up from any page and start reading without missing anything. Very disappointing given the potential of the subject.
Mitchell
A bit disappointing. Sure, reading another book on a single subject was a hoot. But I do expect more from this author. And for that matter on any book. The idea is to find the story in the history and not just dump everything you can on the subject. So no, I didn't appreciate almost any of the recipes for making cheese or milk products from the last 100 years. There were also bits of the history of cheese and milk production and that I did like. So this was basically okay. But a slow-ish read.
Laura
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Fire your editor.
irem
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction, a
This book did a really good job of approaching the subject of milk from all the different standpoints based on its different aspects. It seemed very well researched too. I listened to this on audiobook. Enjoyment wise, I was really interested by the first 15 minutes, bored by the following couple hours and then really enjoying it again. Considering it was longer than 12 and a half hours I think that’s pretty good. Especially for a nonfiction book. As I am in no way a cook I found it hard to foll ...more
Thomas
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed all of the books by Kurlansky that I have read, and Milk is one more. Kurlansky adds interesting recipes to augment the history of his topic, and the recipes in Milk are definitely interesting. It is funny to see that the health benefits and negatives have been argued about for mellennia, and probably will be for the next. This is a good book, good bibliography, and over 100 recipes. Check it out.
Lance L
May 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
"... a book with 126 recipes..."

Almost stream of consciousness rambling broken occasionally by repeated recitations of centuries or millennia old “recipes” which only serve to encrenulate the monotony. I loved Cod. I really liked Salt. I thought Paper was sort of phoned in. This book feels more like it was cut and pasted and forwarded in by tweet.

Full disclosure - could not take it any more. Quit after 4 chapters.
Jim Townsend
I enjoyed this fun and easy-to-read book about my favourite beverage, even as I haven't drunk very much in the years that I've known my wife. A simple food, milk has an interesting and contentious history. I look forward to reading more by Mark Kurlansky.
Holly Senecal
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
As someone who lives in dairy country in Vermont I was curious how Mark Kurlansky would handle the industry in his book. It was a great history lesson and quite interesting.
Natalia
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mark Kurlansky is one of the best writers of social/anthropological history, and Milk! continues his success. The history of milk is fascinating and Kurlansky makes it accessible to the public without it being too dry, from the modern dairy industry to different uses of milk around the world. There are some interesting recipes too!

Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for an advanced copy of this book.
Nicole
Another excellent microhistory from my favorite microhistory author.
Paul
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Mark Kurlansky's books - this one made me want to eat cheese, cheese and more cheese, because it was full of history and recipes!!
Ilana
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm never going to look at milk products the same way again
Rhonda Lomazow
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful look a trip through the history of Milk fulll of facts and delicious yummy recipes.Thanks # NetGalley #bloomsbury for advance copy.
Emily
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This was packed with really interesting information, but it seemed very choppy and changed subjects without warning from paragraph to paragraph.
Alyxandra Cox
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry Mark.
I love your work but this one was a miss for me.
I like a good recipe but this felt a lot like filling space.
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Mark Kurlansky has written, edited, or contributed to twenty books, which have been translated into twenty-five languages and won numerous prizes. His previous books Cod, Salt, 1968, and The Food of a Younger Land were all New York Times best-sellers.

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