It seems like this is a fairly Eurocentric view. Not even that, really, but a specific-period-of-time-in-Rome view.
The Romans didn’t like butter… that’s about it. And they didn’t like it because it spoils too easily in their environment. Expanding that to dairy in general is quite a reach.
Looking at what someone eats and picking on them for it still takes place in 2021 — try sending your kid with a whole cucumber to school.
What I found really interesting is the premise that the article makes about spoilage. If dairy spoils in the warmer Mediterranean causing the inhabitants to find it unappealing, then why is it that the people living in hotter climate of India found dairy to be integral to their diet? Is it because because of Ghee which has a longer shelf life?
And Yogurt too - even today - integral to any number of Indian households.
Definitely seek out and try paneer, though. Saag paneer is one of my favorites: chunks of paneer in stewed mustard greens.
It's not the first time I'm hearing this at all, so I'm not saying you're wrong, I just don't understand.
During the really hot spells we had this year our butter melted at least partially when not kept in the fridge. The rest of the year we can keep butter out of the fridge. If it was consistently 5-10 degrees hotter that just wouldn't be an option really, at a minimum we'd need a cold pantry. I can see solid butter being way more effort to keep than it is worth.
I thought we were talking about it actually spoiling, going off, growing mould or whatever. If anything ghee is worse in terms of melting isn't it? Here in the UK it's typically liquid (sold in cans) at room temperature, and will only solidify in the fridge. (As a separate point that's sort of interesting taken together with its higher smoke point than butter that hasn't been clarified. To a non-chemist such as me anyway.)
Same applies to milk. My parents used to boil milk up until 20 years ago, mostly because they grew up in households with cows and they boiled milk to kill bacteria. It took me years of showing them the label "Does not need to be boiled" to get them to drop the habit.
In Islam, Milk is considered the drink of paradise. There are quite a few ayats (verses) in Quran about the greatness of Milk.
When I first saw the long ones I was like "wtf did they do to them?". They also taste worse imo, but that could be because of greenhouse growth.
There are also the provencal cucumbers, which are larger but shorter than Dutch cucumbers, have a thicker rougher skin, and a much stronger taste
I think Rohl Dahl put me off cucumbers.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves
It feels really weird to have to tell a 4 year old to eat some meat or rice before getting more cucumber, as they also need some calories, but here we are.
They also like salad from it, which they approach almost as a treat.
I regularly ask what my colleagues have for lunch/dinner, I like to see if they have something better than I do.
Sheep and goats are major sources of milk today, just not milk for direct consumption.
No use trying to define it specifically, the word cannot be separated from its snobbery. In any case, almost every non modern piece of human culture comes from barbarians, inventions, customs, livelihoods. The iconic Roman gladius. Every Egyptian military paradigm: swords, chariots, & such came from barbarian pastoralist.
Pastoralist cultures are very poorly recorded, as a rule. These societies can get pretty big, and seem to federate easily. Wealth accumulation happens naturally, with the size of the herd. Trade tends to happen a lot. Some pastoralist cultures may have specialized in trade very early. A nomadic traveller culture who own pack animals are well placed for this. Seasonal migrations sometimes necessitate bimodal society structures, say independant family groups in one season and a large tribal hierarchy in another. They can merge into large super groups. Cultural exchange between groups, bilingualism and such happen a lot.
IMO all these make it likely that many economic and political institutions (eg voting, accounting, etc) originate with pastoralists, showing up in historical records only after being adopted by settled cultures with civilized urban centres. Milk is likely one of those things. If your culture revolves around goats, horses, cows or such... dairy is probably a major part of your culture. Another, snobby culture that eats less dairy comes in and says "yuck, so much milk."
Romans had milk, but they didn't have milk 100 different ways. Shepards and such were low on the Roman hierarchies. What Romans had was trees. Trees, and orchard ready land were wealth. Trees stayed put, could be tended by slaves. You could have a nice villa overlooking your trees. That's civilized.
Could also apply to the evolution of the mutation for lactose-tolerance in adulthood.
“You want the taste of dried leaves boiled in water?”
“Er, yes. With milk.”
“Squirted out of a cow?”
“Well in a manner of speaking, I suppose…”
“I’m going to need some help with this one.”
You can get a faint taste of this (literally) with French cultured butter like Pepe Saya, which blurs the line between butter and soft cheese, but if you ever visit Tibet or even a Tibetan temple, the entire place is permeated with the smell of what the Western nose and palate would consider straight-up rancid butter. No wonder the Romans weren't keen on the stuff. (Of course, I imagine the "barbarians" felt the same away about the ubiquitous Roman condiment garum, aka fish sauce.)
We produced very high quality (as determined by the local dairy who paid us for it) milk at the farm where I grew up.
Yet I remember that whenever we tried to make butter at home it would invariably turn rancid within a very short time.
I know there are a few people here with farming background and whatnot, anyone has an idea why that would happen? What did we do wrong?
Also, even if it is well over half my life so far ago I think I can vividly remember small drops of water in the butter.
...perhaps where you live!
A pale white stick in my fridge would be goat's cheese. Butter is a yellow block in a dish on the side, not refrigerated (except the spares, and the unsalted for cooking).
Sounds more like margarine to me, to have additives like colouring. 'Pale white' and I doubt I'd even recognise it as butter - probably assume it was lard. From 'sticks' I think this is the US, though there's at least one French brand that does sell it like that as well as the normal (to me) block or tub (more common in France in my experience, but some here too).
I was curious about milk and cheese consumption in Ancient Greece and found the following in the Everyday Life of Greeks and Romans (https://www.google.com/books/edition/Everyday_Life_of_the_Gr...) about Greek desserts:
"Piquant dishes, stimulating the guests to dining, were chosen in preference; amongst cheeses, those from Sicily and from the town of Tromileia in Achaia [in Southern Thessaly http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0064:id=achaia-geo] were particularly liked; cakes sprinkled with salt (epipasta) were another important feature of the Greek dessert" p. 266
I wonder if this isn't similar to the recent push to substitute meat with these fake meats, which are nothing but highly processed vegetable oils, some shady vegetable proteins and lots of flavouring, all mixed together, and the same to all those "milks", from soy to almonds.
I was almost upset to hear that they hated dairy -- given how much wine they had around, how could they not have cheese? Thankfully this line redeemed them.
"When all of them had been prevailed upon, they continued the march with Seuthes, and, keeping the Pontus upon the right through the country of the millet-eating Thracians, as they are called, arrived at Salmydessus."
There is even a saying: Do not boil a baby goat in its mother’s milk. From which rabbis derived various prohibitions on milk consumption together with various meats.
Perhaps you’re going to say the milk was always curdled or formed into cheese? And I would ask, how do we know that they didn’t just drink it?
Wouldn't the people who wrote the old testament have been considered barbarians by the Romans?
I wasn't able to find a super authoritative source, but here's a PBS  article that lays out the basics - the Romans allowed the Jews to worship their own deity and follow their own practices, and Pompey, Caesar and Augustus all maintained that protection into the early imperial era. They were treated like clients, rather than being subjugated, until the rebellions.
The climate is warmer than Rome's, so the argument seems weak.
It's how I still feel about it. The way cows are treated (caged, fed unnatural food, preventive antibiotics, babies taken away right after birth, the misery of slaughter) shows me that the act of paying for the products derived from cows is, frankly, quite barbarian to me (as in: not very sophisticated).
Especially given that milk product are known for decades to be unhealthy for humans after the weaning stage.
That's not true. Here:
> There is scepticism about health effects of dairy products in the public, which is reflected in an increasing intake of plant-based drinks, for example, from soy, rice, almond, or oat.
> This review aimed to assess the scientific evidence mainly from meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised controlled trials, on dairy intake and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and all-cause mortality.
> The most recent evidence suggested that intake of milk and dairy products was associated with reduced risk of childhood obesity. In adults, intake of dairy products was shown to improve body composition and facilitate weight loss during energy restriction. In addition, intake of milk and dairy products was associated with a neutral or reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke. Furthermore, the evidence suggested a beneficial effect of milk and dairy intake on bone mineral density but no association with risk of bone fracture. Among cancers, milk and dairy intake was inversely associated with colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, gastric cancer, and breast cancer, and not associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, or lung cancer, while the evidence for prostate cancer risk was inconsistent. Finally, consumption of milk and dairy products was not associated with all-cause mortality. Calcium-fortified plant-based drinks have been included as an alternative to dairy products in the nutrition recommendations in several countries. However, nutritionally, cow's milk and plant-based drinks are completely different foods, and an evidence-based conclusion on the health value of the plant-based drinks requires more studies in humans.
> The totality of available scientific evidence supports that intake of milk and dairy products contribute to meet nutrient recommendations, and may protect against the most prevalent chronic diseases, whereas very few adverse effects have been reported.
Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence
The article is a review and it's from 2016.
Is marketing speak my friend dont fall for it.
Oil is nutirent dense. Sugar is. It means nothing. Maybe you mean "micronutrient / calorie" dense. But even that, due to the high calorie content is not so true (lettuce is much more dense in this sense).
> cultures subsisted for centuries eating basically just dairy products
Subsisted in harsh climates on dairy (mainly in winter) as a supplement to their grain based food: yes, that happened in many areas. But that does not mean it's healthy.
> whole cultures subsisted for centuries eating basically just dairy product
Milk is a nutrient dense superfood, whether grifters like to toss the terms around or not. That's the whole point of mammals creating the substance to begin with. It exists to provide complete nutrition all by itself.
To those in weaning stage. It's baby food, not super food. (for what ever super means here).
I know many cultures have "survived" on high animal product diets for many years: but did they thrive?
The Blue Zones book goes into diets that communities thrive on. Inuit are not mentioned. We do --after the weaning stage-- better on plants.
Find me differences in nutrient requirements between babies and adults.
I'd say given that Genghis Khan was the most successful conqueror in human history that the Mongols thrived better than any other culture. The fact that dairy is a more widespread cultural artifact than vegetarianism is evidence that historically dairy consuming cultures thrived better than vegetarian ones.
Plants are good for you, the right ones anyway. So is milk.
Most of us humans tolerate lactose well when baby, and badly when grown up. Lactose intolerance is 85%. Whites and South-Asians are the only that same to fare well on it. Thus: found at least one difference.
> Genghis Khan
Srsly? I'm even going to unpack your war lord worship here. Have a great day!
> The fact that dairy is a more widespread cultural artifact than vegetarianism is evidence that historically dairy consuming cultures thrived better than vegetarian ones.
You have no clue what you talk about. Were a tropical animal, humans. We are made for tropical fruit like apes. We do bad on grain, we become nutirent dificient. In that state dairy may help sure. But that does not make it good.
> So is milk.
Saying so does not make it true. Are you glad you found a way to justify your behavior?
That's an extraordinary claim. Source?
Anyways didn't colonial prisoners consider it cruel to be fed lobster?
Things change over time.
Edit: This post is wrong, that's a myth actually!
No they weren't! It's a myth.
>In all my research on this subject, I cannot find a single source of lobster shells being crushed in the entire history of lobster canning, between a dozen books on the subject, encyclopedia entries, and two dozen articles about lobster canning. Lobster shells are made out of chitin and are entirely inedible. Furthermore, there is no economical reason for trying to mash up rock-hard lobster shells to ‘stretch’ an abundant product, especially in an era before industrial grinders were available.
>In the colonial times, lobsters were harvested from tidal pools by hand, and were in extreme abundance. They were fed to children, prisoners, and indentured servants. They were also often used as fertilizer and animal feed. According to food historian Kathleen Curtin, prisoners and indentured servants enacting laws to limit how often they were fed lobster is also a myth, and there isn’t a shred of documentation of it actually happening.
It's called the same and it's delicious :D
Apart from this it has other qualities that make it useful in a post-agriculture world. Diets rich in grains and animal meat are too rich in iron and phosphorous and deficient in calcium. Milk is low in iron, and even binds to iron reducing its absorption. It also has higher calcium compared to phosphorous. It has been shown that the ratio of calcium to phosphorous matters more than absolute consumption of each nutrient, and should be slightly higher than one if we want to avoid leeching calcium from bones. Diets rich in leafy greens and fruits have a favorable ratio, while meats, legumes and cereals do not and this probably contributed to the skeletal deformities we see post agriculture. Dairy helps shift the ratio closer to optimal in the presence of phosphorous rich foods in the diet.
With allergies and intolerances being the only reasons not to drink it, and those being more common in poor health. The question should be, why not drink milk?
It's most likely a net zero  with a number of positive benefits that you describe, in particular for infants. There are however a number of risks as well, in particular when you define milk as the product that you can buy in an American/European supermarket or if you look at dairy products more generally. And that's not taking into consideration that the majority of the world's population is lactose intolerant. Here is a link to get you started (don't take this source literally for reasons of bias but treat it as a starting point) .
Getting enough calcium in the diet has been linked to healthier BMI and decreased risk of stroke and heart disease. You can get calcium elsewhere but most people don't, or they didn't at the time.
And if you replace milk in the diet you now need to find many other sources of nutrition to make up for lost vitamins and micronutrients which might have been challenging in cooler climates. Maybe milk isn't absolutely optimal for health, the jury is still out on that, but likely it was much better than anything they could get at the time.
Even in the context of a modern diet, replacing milk with soy milk and vegetable milks will yield too much phosphorous and leave you deficient in calcium unless it's fortified (calcium citrate, malate and other kinds of supplemental calcium are linked to worse health, in contrast to dietary calcium which seems to be protective). It can be done by eating a mostly vegetarian diet rich in fruits and leafy greens, or grinding eggshells yourself and adding it to meals but most of the population won't be doing that when eliminating dairy.
It may not be as critical today, but at some point in time, being able to digest lactose was an evolutionary advantage.
Similarly, I could argue that animals don’t farm vegetables and eat most vegetables, so why should humans?
More obvious than the consumption of milk is the fact that we cook most of our food while no other living being does it. No other animal mixes different food sources into a single dish either. No other animal grinds seeds into flour, etc.
Drinking milk is one of the least weird things we do regarding food.
Why drink milk? Because it was beneficial at one time to do so. Milk is a very nutrient dense food, if you were a member of a nomadic culture you'd want food sources you can bring with you, and nutrient dense ones. Many people in the modern world are descended from nomadic groups who consumed milk, so it is a cultural trend that sticks around.
I believe it is still beneficial to use dairy products but I don't do it very much because I don't like to keep foods that require refrigeration if I can help it.
Well, they weren't that wrong (the Romans I mean).
Milk after childhood is not that beneficial. And a taste for butter soon leads to empty calories and deep fried Mars bars...
Milk after childhood is still beneficial. It supplies protein, and many vitamins and minerals.
Butter is not a "gateway" drug.