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When I first heard “an expert” warn that drinking raw milk could be hazardous to your health I chuckled. Then after about the third time I heard this sort of commentary I began to question, not that pasteurization is a bad thing, but rather about the direction of our society.
Besides, the whole topic seems rather timely too. The Montgomery History Center recently purchased a milking cow simulator, along with other farm animals. We move our cow into the barn at the Center and have started using it. It has been part of our regular programs to have school children come for Iowa History Day and Ag in the Barn Day. In the past, we had used a rubber glove with a hole in one of the fingers for demonstration purposes on how cows were milked in the past. Well, with our new cow, we will no longer have use for holily rubber gloves. We have added several new groups wanting to have annual tours and programs, and we get direct requests from families wanting to know if they can bring their children, so they can milk the cow. Most of us would be shocked by number of people, who have never seen a cow milked or have an idea of how it is done.
It has been rather surprising, not only the responses to our milking cow, but the questions that we are fielding. As a youngster I lived on a farm and we milked cows, first by hand then with milking machines. I remember separating the cream and even making butter. As a very small boy, one of my chores was cranking the churn to help my grandmother make butter. I remember even the barn cats getting a little squirt of milk in the face as a treat once and while, everyone thought that nothing beat fresh milk. I was never a big fan of milk, but I remember how the milk in a carton at school tasted funny, wasn’t like the milk at home.
It all seemed so natural and matter of fact, now ‘they’ are trying to tells us it was all terribly unhealthy. Wait a minute, last time I checked people are mammals and I was always taught that drinking milk was part of the definition. Just when I think I have heard it all, ‘they’ surprise me, I just heard a commentary about eating raw hot dogs. If they only knew!