Milk is one of the most important items of human food, and it is the only food young babies can take. For children, it is a perfect food; there is in milk alone all the food that is needed to make a child grow and keep healthy. For grown-up people, milk is still good and necessary: but they need solid food as well. But it is the best kind of food for grown-up people when they are ill; and in some diseases, like enteric fever, it is the only food they can take without danger.
Milk contains a lot of fat; and when milk is left to stand undisturbed for a few hours, this fat rises to the surface, and we call it cream. We can easily separate the cream from the milk, by skimming it off with a spoon. The milk that is left behind is called skimmed milk. The cream is very rich and is very nice to the taste. It is used in tea, and for making some kinds of puddings, and it is also eaten with the fruit.
From cream we make butter. The cream is warmed and put in a wooden tub called a churn, which can be moved and rolled about. After being shaken for some time, say half an hour, in the churn, the cream becomes thick and solid and turns into butter. Butter is a portion of very healthy food and is regularly eaten by Europeans with bread. In India, butter is generally turned into ghee by boiling, and ghee is used in most Indian dishes.
From cream, also, cheese is made, which is a wholesome food, and eaten in large quantities in Europe and America,
The thin watery milk left after making butter and cheese is called buttermilk and is a pleasant drink of a rather sour taste. It is good for keeping the blood pure.
Another way of taking milk is to turn it, by adding certain acids, into curd. Curd is eaten largely in India, and to some extent, under the name of junket, in Europe.
Milk is also used in making many kinds of puddings, such as rice pudding, custard, firni, etc.
Most of the milkmen drink is cow’s milk, which is the best. Buffaloes give very rich milk. Goat’s milk is rather bitter and has a strong smell. In some lands, people drink the milk of asses, camels, and mares.