By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only



I am baffled by a riddle of biblical proportions.

How did the Caananites develop a technology to put milk into
a bottle and keep it from poisoning thirsty consumers? Three
thousand years ago, there were no outlets in which to plug
General Electric refrigerators. Was milk ultra-pasteurized?
Did the Israelites put drawings of missing prophets on the
sides of their milk bottles?



"And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water
to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk,
and gave him drink, and covered him.


How did a Bedouin open a bottle of non-pasteurized milk in
the desert heat three thousand years ago?


Verrrry carefully!


"Then (she) took a nail of the tent, and took a hammer in
her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into
his temple...for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died."

If the nail didn't kill him, the milk may have done the job.
What powerful stench awaited those milk drinkers? Did the
children of Israel buy sicks packs?

In the third edition of his dairy textbook, Modern Dairy
Products, Lincoln Lampert writes:

"A drop of sour milk may contain more than 50 million
bacteria...a new generation may be formed every 20 minutes."

Moses was given a list of instructions to follow upon
entering the land of milk and honey. These dietary and
health laws preceded modern technologies, and yet
anticipated many of the problems caused by contaminated milk
products. Although swarms of bacteria could not be seen, as
microscopes were not yet available to the early descendants
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God tells Moses in Leviticus
11:41-43 that:

"Every swarming creature that swarms upon the earth is a
loathsome thing."

Moses is instructed:

"Do not make your souls loathsome with any swarming creature
that swarms, and you must not make yourselves unclean by
them and actually get unclean by them."

So...where did those bottles of milk come from, where were
they stored, and who had the courage to drink something that
must have stunk to high heaven?

God's gift to man was the Ten Commandments. Had the Israelis
not insulted their deity by building a graven image in the
form of a baby cow while Moses received those immortal
tablets, God might very well have added commandment number
eleven: Don't drink the milk.

Instead, angered by the "stiffed-neck people" for their
blasphemous sin, God exacts his immediate revenge upon the
3,000 who built that baby cow by killing them. He then
curses all of mankind with an eternal revenge in Exodus

"And then God sent a plague upon all of the people."

And speaking of Jews...and milk...I tell this next story to
demonstrate to you that I do not place blame upon spoiled
rotten hormone-filled milk as the cause for all of the
things in this world that are not right.

My grandfather died when he was 95. We used to visit him at
his apartment in New York's lower East Side, a neighborhood
in which the official language was Yiddish. I understood

Grandpa Sam used to take me and my sister to his favorite
Kosher diner, a restaurant that he had been going to for
over thirty years. Forgive me, but I've forgotten the name.
We would enjoy the same breakfast, a freshly baked buttered
bialy. This diner served no meat, just dairy. Grandpa Sam
would always order a bowl of corn flakes with milk.

I never saw him complain about a thing until one day, right
after our food was set on the table, he called the waiter.
My sister and I had never seen him upset.

The conversation went something like this:

"Waiter, taste this cereal."
"Why, is there something wrong with it?"
It was obvious that Grandpa was upset.
"Just taste it!"
The waiter reached for the bowl.
"I'll bring you fresh cereal.
Maybe the milk was on the table too long."
Grandpa raised his voice.
"Taste the cereal, now!"
The waiter was apologetic.
"You're one of my best customers.
Why should I taste it? This is not
a big deal. I don't want to argue with you.
I'll get you a new bowl."
Grandpa was red in the face. He raised his voice
even louder, and a few patrons looked over. I had
recently tasted sour milk, and was hoping that
grandpa would not ask me to taste his bowl of cereal.
The waiter was so intimidated, that he sat down
at the table.
"All right, I'll taste it. Where's the spoon?"
Grandpa smiled.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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