Five Reasons Why Manufacturing Human Breast Milk Cheese Is Disgusting

Samples of human cheese were offered last night at Feast in Greenpoint.

Human cheese is one of those topics you wish would just go away. It first reared its ugly head last year when a blogger-chef from a certain Chelsea bistro suggested he'd milked his wife to make cheese for a private party.

I've talked both to cheese experts and lactating mothers, and come to the conclusion that the quantity of breast milk needed to make anything like a commercial quantity of cheese is prohibitive, since a mother rarely produces more than a pint per day, which would boil down to less than four ounces of cheese. Further, fresh human ricotta with no preservatives, even when refrigerated, would go bad in a couple of days.

So here's the situation: You'd have to milk the mother every day to produce small quantities of cheese, presumably taking the milk away from the baby -- mothers rarely have huge quantities left over after feeding a hungry infant. Yes, a mother can continue lactating after the baby is weened, but what mom in her right mind wants to do that regularly -- with the attendant pain, chapping, and leakage -- to produce breast-milk cheese as a kind of culinary stunt?

Last week, Fork in the Road published a report on a company in London that was making human ice cream. Rather than hiding under the cloak of adventuresome culinary experimentation, this crass operation -- still in its earliest stages -- intends to milk the poor, who respond to an ad for hard cash. They have to be tested medically first, just as a cow is inspected and tested before it can give milk in a dairy, to demonstrate that it has no diseases that might be transmitted through the milk.

And, what's more, the ice cream so produced is hideously expensive, costing something like $20 for a serving. Despite the picture -- which shows a martini glass heaped with some white substance -- the servings were minuscule, since the first batch made with 30 fluid ounces of milk was said to produce 50 servings. Even without precise calculations and recipes, the servings must have been less than one ounce apiece -- just a dab in the bottom of the glass. Thirteen more women had already been recruited for the restaurant's herd. Clearly, this is ice cream for thrill seekers and misogynist pervs.

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