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Breast milk cheese: yum or ew?

Categories: Parents in the Media, Wanna Fight About It?

2 comments

It’s a slow news day when you Google “mother” and come up with 237 stories about cheese made from breast milk, but there you have it. My lactation inspiration for today’s post.

Breast milk cheese. Mmm. Daniel Angerer, a Manhattan chef, is making cheese from his wife’s extra breast milk. No, the cheese isn’t on the menu at Klee Brasserie, Angerer’s restaurant, though at customer request after reading Angerer’s blog about it, the cheese has been offered as a canape (with figs and Hungarian pepper, for those wondering how to serve a breast milk cheese). Yes, Angerer’s baby has plenty of breast milk otherwise. No worries there.

What’s interesting is the response this gets. Breast milk cheese, or in other words cheese made from milk that humans are designed to consume, causes humans to respond in ways that vary “from mild yuckiness to sheer revulsion” according to The Guardian.

Yuckiness? Revulsion? I’ve tasted breast milk. Hey, you’re there all day with a baby and a bag of Baked Lays, and you’re deciding between Regis and Kelly or reruns of Little House on the Prairie — what else can you do to liven things up? The baby drinks breast milk, right? Poisonous? I don’t think so. Why not check it out?

Hmm, kinda sweet.

Why are you looking at me like that? Oh come on, you’ve ALL done this.

Crickets.

OMG, I’m the only one.

!!!

Although, for me, breast milk cheese is a great idea IN THEORY, I am not sure I’d want to eat cheese made from someone else’s breast milk. Ew. Should this be an ew? It’s just breasts, right? How come I can’t stop the ew?

I would also not want to be Daniel Angerer’s wife Lori Mason, who now can’t set foot in Klee Brasserie without people giving her knowing looks. They know where the cheese came from. Breasts. Her breasts. Which is silly because we don’t treat cows that way. Hey Elsie, how’s it going wink-wink?

Why do we find breast milk so funny? In a recent episode of House, a man with cancer wants a prescription for human breast milk, which he has heard has cancer-fighting properties. And there were jokes and references to The Breast Milk Guy.

But apparently I’m just as 12 as anyone else — here are recipes for breast milk corn chowder, smoothies, and sourdough bread starter, to name a few. Snicker. I never had any extra breast milk of my own and barely had enough as it was, so I never had the problem of what do we do with all that frozen breast milk that apparently is an issue for some. Hence Daniel Angerer’s breast milk cheese.

Have you ever made food from your breast milk? Would you eat food made from anyone else’s breast milk? (Apparently we are as touchy about other people’s breast milk as we are about breastfeeding other people’s children).

So, would you? Could you? Have you?

[Yes, the New York Health Department knows about Daniel Angerer's breast milk cheese -- it's not a menu offering -- and my guess is that any plans to make it a standard offering will end up much like Swiss restaurant owner Hans Locher's plans to offer human breast milk-laden entrees to his guests. Threatened with lawsuits, he was.]



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2 comments so far...

  • OK, first of all, the idea of harvesting all that breast milk is cringy for me. There are 6 billion people in the world. How many hours would women have to pump just to get every human a sample of that cheese? Seriously? Not to say that cows like it any better, but still.

    Secondly, ingesting bodily substances is something that I gave up a very, very long time ago and I feel no urge to go back. Theoretically we could substitute our own sweat for salt in our recipes, but we’re conditioned (or instinctually impelled?) to want food we’re a little less connected to, after a certain age. So no, I would not want cheese made from harvested breast milk.

    If I had ever pumped my breasts, I would probably have snuck a taste. How could you not be curious about what your kid is eating? But I am not that curious about what other moms’ kids are eating. Thanks, but no thanks.

    SKL  |  March 10th, 2010 at 8:44 am

  • This post was super fun to read, yet I found myself repulsed at the same time, yet couldn’t stop reading…

    Okay, so I did taste my breast milk when I nursed my son for those first few months, but I felt okay with that because it came from my breasts; and I didn’t fill up a glass and guzzle, I tasted a drop.

    Breast milk is such a personal thing and it actually is not considered “safe” to share breast pumps because of the risk of certain diseases that are transferrable by breast milk. So even though breast milk is made by humans for human babies, I would never serve up a bottle of someone else’s breast milk for my baby. I prefer cow’s milk - whoever heard of someone getting herpes from a cow?? Just sayin’…

    Stacey  |  March 10th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

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