In a recipe book that is part cultural critique and part culinary history, Mendelson (Stand Facing the Stove) reaps nearly 400 fascinating pages from that most elemental of ingredients. Yet the story of dairy is perhaps not quite so surprising as the title suggests-it's more or less the story of all industrialized food production through the last century, in which the flavor and quality of natural foods have been subjugated to dietary concerns, food safety and the sheer volume needed for mass consumption. As a result, Mendelson argues, the product most Americans call milk bears very little resemblance to what initially spurts from the cow's udder. Mendelson exhaustively traces milk production and consumption back to 6000 B.C. and through the Middle East, India and Europe, where milch animals were first herded and bred. The final two-thirds of the book are divided into chapters devoted to fresh milk and cream; yogurt; cultured milk and cream; butter, true buttermilk and fresh cheese, each with traditional recipes from around the world. Aspiring cheese makers will find some basic science, and the eclectic recipes (such as French Vichyssoise, Turkish Ayran and Eastern European Kugel) are reliable and detailed. Mendelson is optimistic that a brighter future for dairying lies in the rise of small farm operations-a future in which more consumers can share her obvious passion for the product. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Agesby Anne Mendelson
Anne Mendelson, author of Stand Facing the Stove, first explores the earliest Old World homes of yogurt and kindred/i>/i>
Part cookbook—with more than 120 enticing recipes—part culinary history, part inquiry into the evolution of an industry, Milk is a one-of-a-kind book that will forever change the way we think about dairy products.
Anne Mendelson, author of Stand Facing the Stove, first explores the earliest Old World homes of yogurt and kindred fermented products made primarily from sheep’s and goats’ milk and soured as a natural consequence of climate. Out of this ancient heritage from lands that include Greece, Bosnia, Turkey, Israel, Persia, Afghanistan, and India, she mines a rich source of culinary traditions.
Mendelson then takes us on a journey through the lands that traditionally only consumed milk fresh from the cow—what she calls the Northwestern Cow Belt (northern Europe, Great Britain, North America). She shows us how milk reached such prominence in our diet in the nineteenth century that it led to the current practice of overbreeding cows and overprocessing dairy products. Her lucid explanation of the chemical intricacies of milk and the simple home experiments she encourages us to try are a revelation of how pure milk products should really taste.
The delightfully wide-ranging recipes that follow are grouped according to the main dairy ingredient: fresh milk and cream, yogurt, cultured milk and cream, butter and true buttermilk, fresh cheeses. We learn how to make luscious Clotted Cream, magical Lemon Curd, that beautiful quasi-cheese Mascarpone, as well as homemade yogurt, sour cream, true buttermilk, and homemade butter. She gives us comfort foods such as Milk Toast and Cream of Tomato Soup alongside Panir and Chhenna from India. Here, too, are old favorites like Herring with Sour Cream Sauce, Beef Stroganoff, a New Englandish Clam Chowder, and the elegant Russian Easter dessert, Paskha. And there are drinks for every season, from Turkish Ayran and Indian Lassis to Batidos (Latin American milkshakes) and an authentic hot chocolate.
This illuminating book will be an essential part of any food lover’s collection and is bound to win converts determined to restore the purity of flavor to our First Food.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt
Apple-Onion Cream Soup Ingredients: 4 to 6 thick slices of bacon, coarsely diced 3 to 4 tart, juicy apples, pared, quartered, cored, and coarsely diced 4 tablespoons butter 4 large onions, coarsely diced 3 cups good beef broth, or as needed 6 to 8 whole allspice berries, lightly bruised 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste Freshly ground black pepper A dash of lemon juice (optional) 1 teaspoon carraway seeds, lightly bruised (optional) Cream soups are best when they have something more than creaminess going for them. A good cold-weather example is this robust sweet-tart combination of apples--use a good local fall variety in season--and onions with some crisp bacon for counterpoint. It's best when made with a strong, full-flavored beef broth. 1. Cook the bacon slowly in a heavy skillet to render out all the fat. When it is crisp, scoop it out of the fat and drain on paper towels. 2. Sauté the diced apples over medium heat in the same skillet, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Scoop out a few spoonfuls of the apples for garnish and set aside. 3. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. When it foams and sizzles, add the chopped onions and sauté very patiently over low heat, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are well softened and starting to brown. Scoop out a few spoonfuls for garnish and set aside with the reserved apples. 4. Add the rest of the apples to the onions, pour in the broth, add the allspice, and simmer until everything is nearly dissolved, 10 to 15 minutes. Fish out and discard the allspice.5. Pureé the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, making sure to leave the texture slightly coarse. 6. Return the soup to the pot, heat to a boil, and stir in the cream. Let it come to a boil again, add the salt and a grinding of pepper, and taste for seasoning; if it seems too bland, squeeze in a little lemon juice. If it is too thick for your taste, thin it with some hot water. 7. Serve garnished with the reserved bacon, apple, and onion. I like a scattering of carraway seed as well. YIELD: 8 to 9 cups
Meet the Author
Anne Mendelson grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania in an area where small dairy farms were once common. In addition to Stand Facing the Stove (a history of The Joy of Cooking and its authors), she collaborated with chef-writer Zarela Martínez on three cookbooks exploring Mexican cuisine. She has written for Gourmet, Saveur, and The New York Times. Mendelson lives in northern New Jersey.
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