Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, With 120 Adventurous Recipes That Explore the Riches of Our First Food

MendelsonAnne

Lazy, Hazy Daze of Summer Reading

Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, With 120 Adventurous Recipes That Explore the Riches of Our First Food

by Anne Mendelson
Knopf, 352 pp., $29.95

Almost 400 pages about milk? Yes, indeed, and it's all fascinating. Anne Mendelson, a frequent contributor to Gourmet magazine, is one of the most respected food scholars in the country, and when she sinks her teeth into a topic, you can be sure that the facts are straight, the history is sound, and the recipes will work. Not to mention that she writes with skill and wit and is not afraid to express a doubt or an opinion.

The book is divided into two parts: history and recipes. The first includes a survey of human consumption of animal milk, "a geographical-historical exploration of the world's milky ways, including those that have shaped the modern American milk supply for better or worse." Here we learn about the several "milk belts" of Europe and Asia, why some mammals get milked (cows, goats, sheep, yaks) and others don't (pigs and dogs), and the critical role of lactic acid across the Middle East and Central Asia, which Mendelson dubs "Yogurtistan." She documents the history of the milk industry in the U.S. and provides a lucid and rational explanation of the pasteurization/homogenization/raw-milk controversy, presenting facts and factions but allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.

The second half is a global compendium of milk-based recipes, with sections on cream, butter, yogurt, buttermilk, and fresh cheeses. From Ethiopian-spiced clarified butter to mango lassi to homemade sour cream to Liptauer cheese, Mendelson provides not only workable recipes but the science behind them and invaluable cultural contexts.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
Just when you thought you couldn't possibly get any shawarma, right?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Sept. 4, 2020

Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
What does your favorite condiment reveal about who you are?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Aug. 28, 2020

More by MM Pack
There and Back Again
There and Back Again
NYC chef Tien Ho returns to Austin

April 1, 2016

Speaking Volumes
Speaking Volumes
The secret history of Austin's First Cookbook

March 6, 2015

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ageswith 120 Adventurous Recipes that Explore the Riches of Our First Food, Milk, food

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle