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BOOK REVIEW | Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butters


It's no secret that I want a cow. Not only do I think cows are absolutely adorable, but I want access to fresh milk (it's illegal here in good ole' Virginia to buy or sell raw milk) so I can make all kinds of homemade butter, cheeses and ice cream. So when Brian Ogle (son of Mary Jane Butters of Mary Jane's Farm fame) asked if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of his mother's new book Milk Cow Kitchens: Cowgirl Romance, Backyard Cow Keeping, Farmstyle Meals and Cheese Recipes, he didn't have to ask twice!

I eagerly awaited my copy to arrive in the mail - and I was not disappointed when it did. Part coffee table book with gorgeous photography of beautiful cows, part cookbook, and part how-to manual on buying/raising/milking a cow, this book is an invaluable reference for anyone considering raising milk cows...or living vicariously through those who do!

The book is 400 pages chock full of information and advice, recipes, and interesting profiles of other cow keepers (cowgirls? milkmaids?). Mary Jane also recounts her cow keeping journey and offers a peek inside life on her farm. She has included recipes using all kinds of dairy products, and step-by-step instructions to make nearly any kind of cheese you can think of and I am literally swooning over the flavored butter recipes.

The amount of information packed into the book is stunning. Do you know how to pack 39 bales of hay into a standard-sized pick-up truck? You will after reading her book. Do you know how to crochet a cute market tote bag using bailing twine? If not, the pattern is included in the book. 

There is a section on going into business selling your milk and a section on changing zoning laws to allow you to have a cow. (I only wish there were a section on convincing your husband you NEED a cow!) There's a 'recipe' for nontoxic homemade fly spray, a recipe for cow 'cookies', instructions on how to make milk paint, and a plan to build a milking station.  I just can't stop flipping through the book because each time I do, I stumble upon more fascinating information. Of course serious topics such as vet care, general health, feed and housing are covered in detail; this book is not all merely eye candy.

The recipe section also includes plenty of mouth-watering recipes using regular dairy products, so even if you don't have access to raw milk to make your own, store bought will suffice. From lasagna to corn casserole to pie to homemade ice cream, the dairy-laden recipes span the spectrum and each one looks more tempting than the last.

Whether you are considering raising cows, looking for recipes to make your own cheese, yogurt, flavored butters or ice cream, or you just enjoy pretty photos of cows and food, this book is for you. It would make a wonderful gift also. It's a visually stunning book jam-packed with everything you need to get started raising milk cows.

To purchase a copy of Milk Cow Kitchen, visit your local book store or HERE.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book at no cost to me, however my opinions are in no way influenced by the gift and are entirely my own.

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