Nature's Perfect Food
How Milk Became America's Drink
For over a century, America's nutrition authorities have heralded milk as "nature's perfect food," as "indispensable" and "the most complete food." These milk "boosters" have ranged from consumer activists, to government nutritionists, to the American Dairy Council and its ubiquitous milk moustache ads. The image of milk as wholesome and body-building has a long history, but is it accurate?
Recently, within the newest social movements around food, milk has lost favor. Vegan anti-milk rhetoric portrays the dairy industry as cruel to animals and milk as bad for humans. Recently, books with titles like, "Milk: The Deadly Poison," and "Don't Drink Your Milk" have portrayed milk as toxic and unhealthy. Controversies over genetically-engineered cows and questions about antibiotic residue have also prompted consumers to question whether the milk they drink each day is truly good for them.
"A breakthrough piece of work in food studies as well as a very enjoyable read."
—Frederick H. Buttel, University of Wisconsin, Madison
"DuPuis's achievement is considerable—it is a rare scholarly volume that will also fascinate general readers. Fans of Mark Kurlansky's Cod will enjoy the diverse strands of history and science that define one of the commonplace staples in our daily lives—milk. Moreover, no one thinking about the present controversey over industrialized agriculture will want to go very far without DuPuis's analysis in hand."
—Sally Fairfax, University of California, Berkeley
"Intriguing, nuanced, and complex. The stories DuPuis tells about milk are at once captivating and analytically astute. Lots of historical surprises and ironies add spice to her extensive findings about more than a century of milk madness in America."
—Nancy Lee Peluso, University of California, Berkeley
"Du Puis' book is a rich and frothy drink, well worth consuming, just like its subject."
—New York History
"This is an entertaining, informative, and tightly argued book, one well worth adding to any food library."
"An excellent social history of the development of milk drinking and production in the United States."
"Very readable and extremely well documented...DuPuis provides great insights throughout by reflecting on the thoughts of influential thinkers."
"DuPuis is able to dive beneath the controversy that milk engenders today. Instead, she presents an informative, balanced history of milk production and consumptionhow we get our milk and why we drink so much of it."
—E, Westport, CT
- "A concise look into the history of the growth of milk in America...it will answer all of your questions."
—Evan Perrault, Agric Hum Values
New York University Press is proud to make many of our titles available in eBook editions. Below is the list of vendors that carry our titles in electronic format. Each vendor has its own pricing and delivery policies. Please follow the links below for more information.
Please list your name, institutional affiliation, course name and size, and institution address. NYU Press will cancel exam copy orders if information cannot be verified.