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Milk has become the unlikely star of a complex food debate that covers the areas of health, history, agriculture and economics. Questions around its history, nutritional value and the conditions of its production continue to emerge. Meanwhile, consumer demand drives supermarket milk prices ever lower. Given milk’s complex history, just how old is the human practice of extracting, treating and consuming another mammal’s milk?

By Elizabeth Kulas

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Tasteofthepast
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Is milk "nature's perfect food"? This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio is joined by cookbook historian Anne Mendelson to debunk this myth. Anne is the author of Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages, a cookbook and overview of milk's history. Learn about milk's volatile chemistry, the differences between different mammals' milks, and Anne's thoughts on the raw milk debate. Also, Anne explains the beginnings of the pasteurization and homogenization processes, and how it changed the lives of urban dwellers in the late 1800s. Hear about modern pasteurization processes, from small to large scale. This program has been brought to you by Cain Winery.

"It [milk] is intended to be supplied in one particularly way, and one alone...under those circumstances it is quite safe to drink, even if it's raw. But if you divert it, if you interrupt that closed system... it changes as soon as you divert it into the outside world; you've already interrupted nature the moment you do that."

"Raw milk's sales allow farmers to sell directly to consumers without a middle man. And it's one of the ways that farmers can sell their product for a price so that they can make a living."

--Anne Mendelson on A Taste of the Past


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This week on Cutting the Curd, Diane Stemple talks with Gianaclis Caldwell about her new book, The Small-Scale Dairy. Tune into this program to hear how writing this book reminded Gianaclis of the importance of food advocacy. Why is Gianaclis so inspired by the DIY spirit? Learn how some of the FDA's proposed aging regulations could hurt some cheesemakers, and why artisan producers should define their own good manufacturing practices. Hear more about the farmstead cheesemaker short course that Gianaclis hosts, and how she analyzes milk for taste and food safety purposes! This program has been sponsored by White Oak Pastures. Music by The Hollows.

"It's empowering to think, 'If someone else can do something, than I can probably learn to do that thing, too.'" [3:45]

"It's important to be informed... We shouldn't look at food like it's going to be around all of the time; food is not static." [12:40]

"Most of us cheesemakers couldn't afford our own cheese!" [27:15]

-- Gianaclis Caldwell on Cutting the Curd


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