As a food, milk has been revered and ignored, respected and feared. In the face of its 'material resistance', attempts were made to purify it of dirt and disease, and to standardize its fat content. This is a history of the struggle to bring milk under control, to manipulate its naturally variable composition and, as a result, to redraw the boundaries between nature and society. Peter Atkins follows two centuries of dynamic and intriguing food history, shedding light on the resistance of natural products to the ordering of science. After this look at the stuff in foodstuffs, it is impossible to see the modern diet in the same way again.
'A notable contribution to research on food and material culture with a swirling cast of characters that influenced milk quality and perceptions of the product' Michael French, University of Glasgow, UK 'He relates his findings on the material quality of milk to other texts from different fields (epistemology, history of science, history of food) and in so doing finds his own narrative. This is quite radical and thought provoking, arguing that the materiality of milk is not a given.' Medical History 'Atkins has done food history a great service by his intensive, well-researched focus on this topic that remains extremely relevant today… Atkins gives new insights into the development of the nature of this staple food.' Gastronomica '… the book represents an outstanding contribution not only to food history but also to some of the main frameworks of the current historiography of science, such as those on experts and expertise, thing history, or science and the law. This is therefore a highly readable book.' Ambix