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Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  525 ratings  ·  143 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
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  525 ratings  ·  143 reviews

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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
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 resize
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
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
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.
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
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 intolera
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-politics
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
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!!
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.
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.
Another excellent microhistory from my favorite microhistory author.
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.
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.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Incoherent and hastily edited. The only unifying subject is "milk," and the only unifying theme is "sometimes milk or its production/handling/transformation into other products have been controversial." There is interesting information, but it seems a little superficial or unreliable. Also, am annoyed that Kurlansky didn't devote more than two pages total to animal welfare. You'd think that'd be more of a fracas.

Which isn't to say I learned nothing. 18th-century French aristocrats had ornamental
Steven Minniear
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on-this
Not one of Kurlansky’s best, in my opinion. While I kind of liked his use of recipes within the text, I just could not get myself into this book. I was so unhappy with it that I returned it to the bookstore.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky is a fascinating investigation into how milk has been used through history. Kurlansky has published several books on common food items.

It is a good reminder of how odd it is that people, alone among the natural world, consume dairy products after their youngest days. And how unusual it is that most dairy comes from cattle, even given to babies in our industrial age, for in early human history, animals such as camels, goats, and buffalo were far
Nick Ertz
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
There is a lot of time to cover. This is not an exciting book, too much "and then this and then that" to make it very engaging. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that milk has been debated since the beginning. First, which is better, cow or goat or camel or buffalo or... Then, why does everyone die after drinking this milk? Yet, who doesn't like a good piece of cheese?
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is skim milk compared to the richness, of Salt: A World History or Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. It's a bit too watered down with recipes.
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Mark Kurlansky (born 7 December 1948 in Hartford, Connecticut) is a highly-acclaimed American journalist and writer of general interest non-fiction. He is especially known for titles on eclectic topics, such as cod or salt.

Kurlansky attended Butler University, where he harbored an early interest in theatre and earned a BA in 1970. However, his interest faded and he began to work as a journalist in
“Modern nutritionists also warn against eating cheese in excess because of its high fat and cholesterol content.” 0 likes
“The big culprit is methane gas, which, although it does not get as much attention as carbon dioxide, is more than twenty times as destructive in terms of climate change.” 0 likes
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