The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

by Shoba Narayan


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When Shoba Narayan, a writer and cookbook author who had lived for years in Manhattan, moves back to Bangalore with her family, she befriends the milk lady, from whom she buys fresh milk every day. These two women from very different backgrounds bond over not only cows, considered holy in India, but also family, food, and life. After Narayan agrees to buy her milk lady a new cow (she needs one and Narayan can afford it, so why not?), they set off looking for just the right cow. What was at first a simple economic transaction becomes something much more complicated, though never without a hint of slapstick. When Narayan starts dreaming of cows, a little Ayurvedic medicine is in order. (Cow urine tablets, anyone?) When Narayan offers her surprised neighbors fresh cow’s milk, we learn about the place of milk in Indian culture. When Narayan wants a cow to bless her house, the spiritual and historical role that cows play in India is explored.

In this charming true story about two women and the animal they share, readers are treated to an insider’s of view of India. The Milk Lady of Bangalore is also a window into our universal connection to food and its sources, the intricacies of female friendship, and our relationship to all animals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616206154
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 01/23/2018
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Shoba Narayan writes about food, travel, fashion, art, and culture for many publications, including Conde Nast Traveler, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Town & Country, Food & Wine, Saveur, Newsweek, and House Beautiful. She writes a weekly column for Mint Lounge, an Indian business daily, which is affiliated with the Wall Street Journal. Her commentaries have aired on NPR’s All Things Considered. Narayan is the author of Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes, and her essay "The God of Small Feasts" won the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.   

Table of Contents

Prologue xix

Part 1

1 The Cows-and Humans-Come Home 3

2 Bangalore 15

3 Milking the Milk Story for My Neighbors 26

4 Farm to Table, Udder to Butter 39

5 The Myths Around Milk 51

6 Are You Happy? 65

7 Embracing Humility, Humanity … and Guilt 75

8 If You Don't Like the Milk, Change Your Cow 83

9 Land of a Million Cows 94

10 The Scatological Remnants of a Cow 102

11 Cow Manure for the Garden 114

Part 2

12 My Milk Woman Has a Proposition 129

13 A Cow as a Birthday Gift? 139

14 Cause and Collateral 151

15 To Market, to Market, to Buy a Fat Cow 158

16 The Cattle Fair 171

17 Buying a Cow 188

18 A Calf 202

19 The Cow Hotel 214

20 Finding a Bride 223

21 Three Weddings and a Passing 234

Postscript 243

Acknowledgments 245

Selected Reading 251

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