Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Brief History of Milk

From Homestead:

Historians generally agree that dairying began soon after animal domestication about 10,000 years ago.  At first, sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs supplied meat, hides, and hair.  We can imagine an opportunistic Neolithic shepherd or shepherdess watching young animals nursing from their mothers and thinking, “Hey, I want some of that”.  Their attempts at drinking “some of that” would have had the disastrous effects on the gut already mentioned.

Luckily for our Neolithic innovators, fermented foods had been around for some time.  People well understood that fermentation transformed difficult to digest foods into something more palatable and long lasting (not to mention, occasionally, alcoholic).  Fermentation hugely expanded our larders and dairy lent itself well to this process—in the warmer areas of the Middle East, where agriculture began, milk taken from an animal in the morning would be yogurt by noon. (Read more.)


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