OCTOBER 13-16, 2022

and year round


Milk! - Mark Kurlansky - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 7:00pm</span>


10/13/2018 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy--with recipes throughout. 


According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself. 


Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the nineteenth century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement, and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization.


Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.


Samples of Wisconsin cheese will be provided by Emmi Roth USA and Sartori Cheese. Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Mark Kurlansky

About Presenter Mark Kurlansky


Mark Kurlansky is the prolific author of over 20 books, including the New York Times bestsellers Salt: A World History and Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. His articles have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Parade. He has won many awards for his writing, including the James Beard Award for Writing on Food, the Glenfiddich Award, the ALA Notable Book Award, and others. He lives in New York City. Read more at www.markkurlansky.com or on Twitter at @codlansky. Photo credit: Sylvia Plachy.



Madison Public Library logo

201 W. Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703

© 2013-2022


join the conversation #wibookfest

we couldn't do it without you: