Taking Inventory: Milk Bucket
What’s the best drink in Minecraft? Water’s a bit dull. Lava’s a bit hot. Potions of regeneration just make me feel all dizzy and light-headed. No, the best drink in Minecraft is undoubtedly our item of the week - milk. Or, if we’re being really pedantic, milk bucket.
Milk buckets were added to Minecraft in Alpha version 1.0.8, at the same time as the game’s other bovine delights: leather and cows. Originally it had no function, and wasn’t even craftable. A few versions later it became possible to make it by milking a cow with a bucket, and in Beta version 1.2 it became part of the recipe for cake. But it wasn’t until Beta version 1.8 before it became drinkable.
So what does drinking milk do? Other than giving you strong bones and healthy teeth, it also happens to cure any pesky status effects that might be afflicting you. Wither? No way! Poison? Nuh-uh! Slow fall? Plunge to the ground!
Need milk? There are two ways to get it. The easiest is to make yourself a bucket out of three iron ingots, find a cow or mooshroom, and then right-click it with the empty bucket. It’ll fill with milk. The much harder way is to find a wandering trader who’s holding a milk bucket and kill them. If you’re lucky, the bucket will drop the the ground.
Real-world milk is just as tasty as in Minecraft. Unlike in Minecraft, however, there are many, many different kinds. Not only is milk produced by just about every mammal - from squirrels, to bats, to elephants, to pandas, to whales, to humans - but you can also make milk-like products from many plants - check out the dairy-free aisle of your local supermarket and you’ll probably find milk substitutes made of rice, oats and soya.
It’s thought that humans first learnt to drink the milk of other animals during the development of agriculture - probably independently in several places around the world. But it wasn’t until the industrial revolution fuelled a huge rise in urban population that milk production was itself industrialized - and transported from the countryside into cities.
Today, the vast majority of milk produced and consumed in the world comes from cows. In fact, more than six billion people around the world consume cow’s milk - a number which is constantly rising. Per capita, the world’s biggest milk drinkers are Ireland (135 litres per year), Finland (127 litres per year) and the UK (105 litres per year).
Minecraft doesn’t feature in the top countries list (probably because it’s not a country... yet...) but if it did it probably wouldn’t rate very highly, because I don’t think most players drink much of it. But you should! It’s good for you! Now I’m off to stick my head in a bucket of milk. See you next week!