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Using Breast Milk to Make Cheese and Art: Show Includes Tasting

breast milk, cheese recipes

Is it baby food or is it art? Can it be both?

You know those accumulated hours you’ve spent in the women’s restroom at work pumping, pumping, pumping every ounce of breast milk you could? Or those late nights up with a newborn adjusting and readjusting your baby’s latch? Despite the title of the nursing Bible, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, did you ever once think your bloated, stressed, milky self had anything to do with art?

That’s because you have no vision. Also, because you were feeding your baby, not curdling your milk to make cheese for a dinner party.

Anyway, expressing breast milk and turning it into grown-up edibles is the focus of The Lady Cheese Shop, an exhibit at Michael Mut Gallery in New York. Lady Cheese Shop is artist Miriam Simun’s final project for the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.

The cheese, which will be available for sampling, was produced by chef Sarah Hymanson, who has also paired wines to go with each cheese — the milk solids of which were sourced from three different women. You’ll be able to taste Wisconsin Bang, Sweet Airy Equity, and City Funk (no thanks on the last one!).

Simun’s foray into human milk cheeses is a statement about, among other things, our comfort with genetically modified foods and highly processed foods contrasted with our desires to live sustainably. In her statement, she writes:

By serving human cheese, I ask people to make a decision:  to eat, or not to eat.  Facing the decision to ingest materializes the technological and ethical issues at hand, going beyond our rational senses to appeal to our visceral and instinctual humanness. In doing so, I hope to engage discourse about what we eat, who we are (evolving to be), and what kind of future we want.

My future doesn’t involve human breast milk cheese (or ice-cream), but I like smorgasbord of subjects that Simun brings up in relation to eating mama’s aged cheddars.

The tasting event runs tomorrow through Sunday, details here. Are you going? Let us know what you thought of the cheese!

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