Thursday, March 4, 2010

Suck it down.

Because I am perpetually 12 years old inside, I am incapable of coming (HAH!) up with a non-pervy title for this post. Because it’s about (human) breast milk, and cheese made from the same, and the grossed-out-ness that predictably ensued when a New York restaurateur recently made said cheese from his wife’s extra milk.

Because I am a “don’t read the comments” kind of girl, I’m gonna take a wild guess at the responses:

1. Boobs are for SEX, not food! Anyone who says otherwise is either a degenerate or a hippie whackjob. (I think I might be both.)
2. Woe betide the heathen who thinks to steal a cherished food source meant for the most vulnerable among us!

To which I say: put down the moo juice, haters. (Unless it’s your own. I’m not gonna tell you what to do with your own breast milk. I mean, there’s a whole book on cooking with semen, for Chrissakes.) Are we really so skeeved out by breast milk? This is a simply beautiful demonstration of the cognitive dissonance our culture has around dairy products. Milk meant for baby cows: gimme gimme! Milk meant for baby humans: Ewwwww, gross!

[Dear parents: Please know that I have never actually seen the semen cookbook.]

When I posted the article on Facebook, a friend who has spent time in Switzerland countered the resultant histrionic flailing with the revelation that Switzerland has a breast milk café. Or perhaps it’s a café that simply offers breast-milk lattés. It’s a niche market, I’m sure, but what a refreshing idea. I’m pretty sure no one had her baby stolen in order to commandeer her milk supply. (Switzerland is also considering expanding animals’ rights by granting them the right to legal representation, but that’s another post.)

For a mature discussion, check out Kate Harding’s piece on Salon’s Broadsheet. I have a huge girl-crush on Kate Harding, and she neatly explores, from an omnivore’s point of view, why we should all stop grossing out over breast milk (and also stop thinking that we can tell women what to do with their bodies).

You didn't think you were getting out of this without some Tori Amos, did you?


  1. Hmmm...on one hand we have breast milk designed for our species, the consent of the women providing the breast milk, and the knowledge that she was not tortured, her children not stolen, and she will not be sent to the slaughterhouse when she can no longer give us breast milk.

    On the other hand we have tortured cows, calves sent to the veal farm, and an inevitable murder at the slaughter house.

    Hmmm...which one is more 'disgusting'???

    Great post, Shannon!

  2. I just saw this on the news myself, and although I am not in a hurry to try it, I think why not...

    The semen cookbook on the other hand kinda freaks me out!