Dairy Products Today

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Today dairying is split into several big businesses with nothing of the dairymaid left about them. Butter and cheese, once prized, delicate concentrates of milk’s goodness, have become inexpensive, mass-produced, uninspiring commodities piling up in government warehouses. Manufacturers now remove much of what makes milk, cheese, ice cream, and butter distinctive and pleasurable: they remove milk fat, which suddenly became undesirable when medical scientists found that saturated milk fat tends to raise blood cholesterol levels and can contribute to heart disease. Happily the last few years have brought a correction in the view of saturated fat, a reaction to the juggernaut of mass production, and a resurgent interest in full-flavored dairy products crafted on a small scale from traditional breeds that graze seasonally on green pastures.