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Wilfrid

Big Changes I've Seen in Eating and Dining

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A lot of the dairy farms in our region are gone. Stone Mountain Creamery will deliver to our area. Like the old dairy companies that delivered, they offer more than just milk, but quite a bit more than the old dairies - meats, snacks and jams (made by other companies) and their own ice cream, butter, sour cream, eggs.

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We get our milk (glass bottles, plug o' cream) delivered in our CSA box. It's much more of a professionalized system than anything I've seen in the states, run by a cooperation of local farms but also offering groceries and things shipped in from outher countries if requested. I can edit the box online each week, making it very convenient. I don't know if Bavaria is ahead if the curve or behind it, but I think we get better food here than in the rest of Germany, possibly due to higher income, possibly the culture (strong identification w/ Italy...which I'm sure the Italians find pretty ridiculous...)

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Serious question for all those commenting on milk: was there ever a problem, outbreak, a huge lawsuit, etc., or why did milk (and cheese and x and y) go the way it did? Was it all production based?

 

I think mass-market milk is an extreme case as it has never, ever, been about taste or quality (not that any food has, but in this case there wasn't even a claim made to that extent). It's all about distribution, household consumption patterns, refrigeration costs, etc.

 

An American family of four buys milk in gallons, so obviously it can't go bad in 2-3 days the way old milk used to. They also live so far away from their neighbors that the poor milkman would have to drive hundreds of miles to make the rounds.

 

In Spain or Mexico, they only use milk in coffee anyway, and refrigerator space is at a premium in old houses, bodegas, supermarkets, and cafes, so they're all on UHT.

 

In Israel, where the last of the glass bottles went away when I was about 4 years old (by then they'd be delivered but you'd return them to the local grocery store (that is, mom, who was supposed to have nothing better to do, would wash them and return them)), plastic bags were introduced as a convenience (much lighter to carry home) but had the flaw that they would sit in a tub refrigerator at the shop and one would always break... also, mom still had to wash the plastic thingie the bag would sit in. More recently (20 years ago?) cardboard packaging was introduced, which was slightly more expensive but also slightly more convenient. This coincided with an unannounced improvement in homogenization that resolved morning cries of "there are white bits in the milk" but later turned out to have been assisted by the addition of (unannounced) silicone to the milk.

 

eta: interestingly, the illegal raw milk club that I imagine Josh referred to upthread offered milk from a handful of farms. Only one of them was delicious enough to justify (subjectively, for me) the inconvenience, and having to do business with the religious crazies behind the club, but that farm was shut down by the feds for listeria problems they couldn't correct.

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I would think that in the time from Wilfrid's childhood to today, there have been a few other big changes in eating and dining than milk deliveries and olive oil. the more interesting question might have been "what has remained the same."

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Imagine where we'd be if they'd figured out how to farm mammoth.

 

The process remains mostly the same, though - cook, eat, make up all kinds of bullshit to give it social significance.

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To anyone who has been gastronomizing at the most prestigious and most interesting restaurants as long as I have, the answer is obvious: It's the long, on-going and persistent dilution and debasing of the experience of dining in interesting restaurants.

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Serious question for all those commenting on milk: was there ever a problem, outbreak, a huge lawsuit, etc., or why did milk (and cheese and x and y) go the way it did? Was it all production based?

 

 

Just saw this. There's a specific history to this in the UK. Milk distribution was centralized in the 1930s. Private dairies sold to a Milk Marketing Board, which controlled price and distribution through (to my amazement) the 1990s. Cheese production, along with other food operations, was centralized during the war, and that probably lasted through the years of post-war rationing (into the 1950s).

 

It took years for cheese-making to recover. And it seems it's a relatively new experience for dairies to be selling milk direct to the public.

 

None of this is relevant to the States, as far as I know.

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Milk is still sorta price controlled in the US. Not so much at the store level but at the price Dairies sell at.

 

Yeah there are parts of the Milk story in the US that are similar to the UK.

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