Breast-Milk Cheese: Why Not?

I posted an article yesterday on Holy Cow’s Facebook page about a New York chef who made cheese with– hold your reflexes!– his wife’s breast milk.

One reaction to that post succintly went: “Ewwwwwww.” Someone else thought it was a cool idea.

Ewwwww is pretty much how most of us would respond. To most adults, the idea of consuming human breast milk sounds disgusting,  even though we did spend our early months on earth grabbing for it. And while that was a perfectly natural and wonderful thing while it lasted, I for one sure am glad I don’t remember it any more. :)

Still, if you think about it honestly, isn’t human breast milk a better fit for us than cow’s milk ever can be?

After all we are human, not cows (at least not literally). And it’s not healthy for any animal to gorge on the milk of another species– if you have a cat or a dog you know, for instance, that vets advise against giving them cow’s milk because they cannot digest it.

The only reason we don’t think of cow’s milk as gross is because we are weaned into it early in our lives. Humans have an infinite capacity to overcome disgust for foods, and milk– the smelly stuff that comes from a cow’s teats — seems perfectly palatable just because we are so used to it.

There are other reasons that make human milk preferable — like the fact that the human is more able to make a conscious decision to give her milk, whereas the cow is being forced into a life of slavery and into giving up the milk that was meant for her calf (who will be killed for veal).

So would the cheese/milk lovers among you eat chef Daniel Angerer’s maple caramelized pumpkin seed encrusted cheese with concord grapes– made with breast milk?

It sounds pretty cool and it’s on his menu at his New York restaurant, Klee Brasserie. If you’d prefer to make your own, he even has a recipe here.

Enjoy! Or not.

Update: Okay, I think people are going all over the map with this one, and I think it’s time to weigh in.

First, there’s the concern expressed by Claire that if we do start using human breast milk, we are going to see more women being exploited.

 
Second, AMA and Sharmila are worrying about depriving human kids of their mothers’ milk.

 
Okay, in a situation where people actually start using breast milk on a wide scale, these can be legitimate concerns. But I, for one, don’t see any danger of that happening. This is just a fun/gross/shocking stunt pulled by someone with his wife’s excess breast milk. I doubt everyone is going to start depriving their kids of milk and start curdling it into cheese or yogurt for mass consumption any time soon.

 
This post is intended to make you think about the grossness of cow’s milk: and why that appears something so natural when it really isn’t any less disgusting than human milk. As for the commenter, Glove Slap, who raises the concern that human milk may not be healthy for humans– hello, but neither is cow’s milk.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

23 thoughts on “Breast-Milk Cheese: Why Not?

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    ruchikacooks

    March 9, 2010 at 3:52pm

    I just checked out the article..Butter and cream is on the way??!!

    Atleast we know what the mom ate, instead of worrying what food the cow might have had..You never know may be they’ll find some health benefits of BM Cheese..

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Happy Cook

    March 9, 2010 at 4:06pm

    Well I am for one really glad i am not eating in his place, don’t even want to be there even if he is a famous chef.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Claire

    March 9, 2010 at 4:28pm

    My first thought was that this is hilarious. My second is that he probably just did this for the publicity. My third thought is that this wouldn’t ever be an answer to exploitation, because if there were a demand for this, someone would just exploit poor human women.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    AMA's AnythingVegetarian

    March 9, 2010 at 4:49pm

    I donot know what to comment about.Does he know the plight of mothers who wants to nurse their babies , due to health reasons or lack of milk they are not able to.The article might sound hilarious but I am sure the Laleche leagues and other mother groups would raise against it.
    I feel Yucky .

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sharmila

    March 9, 2010 at 5:57pm

    What happened to the baby? Did it stay malnourished?

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    AMA's AnythingVegetarian

    March 9, 2010 at 6:05pm

    Adding to my comment.I am trying to convert to a vegan.If someone asks me can the calfs be depreived of their milk.The answer is NO.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Allysia

    March 9, 2010 at 6:13pm

    You make a good point on how we can consider another mammal’s milk ‘normal’ to consume, but drinking human milk is just so weird. Which it is, when you’re an adult! That’s why I prefer to consume neither :)

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Glove Slap

    March 9, 2010 at 6:40pm

    I agree with Claire. If a demand develops for human milk, human women will soon be attached to milk pumps 24 hours a day, just like cows are. We’ll be seeing “milkshop” raids on Frontline… hidden cameras bursting into basements where crowds of lactating milk slaves are chained together, begging to see the sunlight again.

    Anyway, even though human milk may be more suitable for humans, isn’t it only more suitable for baby humans? Should adults be consuming dairy?

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    zengirl

    March 10, 2010 at 2:53am

    Vaishali,

    Anything good can be used for bad cause and bad could be used for good causes, it is up to us to make it the way we like. I personally think mom’s milk is first for her baby/babies, than other human babies, than other things. I do have problem with human milk being used to create beauty products, did you hear about it?

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Cham

    March 10, 2010 at 3:46am

    Yuck, definetly gross and weird idea, if it is excess he could have donated to nearest hospital where many new born babies could have benefited!

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Claire

    March 10, 2010 at 3:57am

    I just read your update, Vaishali. I completely agree that this is mostly an interesting thing to think about, and not about to be reality. For what it’s worth I read a lot of science fiction when I was young; sometimes my imagination runs away from me!

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    April

    March 10, 2010 at 5:57am

    I actually think this is amazing. My hunny has been waiting for me to start lactating so we can make cheese! I think that it is my milk so I can do what I please with it, and they had the right to do what they wanted. So stop juding!

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    mia

    March 11, 2010 at 3:49am

    laugh out loud, yes, women would be chained to their milk pumps, not seeing the light of day.that’s EXACTLY what would happen.cause animals and humans are given equal rights, don’t you know?!??

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Priya Narasimhan

    March 11, 2010 at 9:16am

    this is the most disgusting but thought provoking post I have seen…Its sad to see that many readers are missing the real intent of this post..

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Kamal

    March 11, 2010 at 9:36am

    I am not a big fan of cheese, so I am not worried about that.

    But I cannot help think about milk, in various forms.

    Cows Milk, It is cruel to steal it from the calf. Having said, that I grew up loving it. Now, am I a hypocrite? Humans Waste what is supposed to be a life saving drink for cow. So ‘inhumane’.

    Breast Milk, We shed it away saying, now stop breast feeding honey, otherwise the kid will never leave you. Too little is used in my opinion here.

    Soy Milk, I see Soy being the next corn. So watch out!

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Malar Gandhi

    March 11, 2010 at 6:12pm

    You clearly made your point. I consider myself as speciest now… for my own benefit, I exploit other animal’s milk!

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    tinkertap

    March 17, 2010 at 10:18pm

    Vaishali, your post has evidently done its job of provoking thought about species-appropriate milk. But I hope it also provokes, in those who find the idea inherently disgusting, some thought about where that disgust originates.

    Our own bodies are increasingly marketed as alien entities, dangerous to ourselves and impossible to keep healthy except through consumption of vaccines, antibiotics, and the rest. A lot follows from that lie.

  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    RV

    March 22, 2010 at 4:29am

    Sometime back I read an article that Breast milk is widely used in europe. Hope this doesn’t lead to any invention of some hormone that could make a woman yield breast milk always…

  19. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    M.

    January 15, 2012 at 4:21am

    Do we have a recipe to follow? I know the Chef in NY added some cow’s milk, however I want our cheese to be 100% breast milk and can’t find a good recipe. :)

  20. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    July 31, 2012 at 1:45am

    I was very excited to try this until I saw it’s made with rennet :(

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