Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Vocab from Oct 2

An acquired taste - such as, perhaps, broccoli.

Halva (halvah) - the Arabic meaning is "sweet." A sugary, nutty paste that may be made with a variety of flours and nuts. Solomon Amiri, whose family is Persian, brought a halvah to his class. 'Twas yummy.

Yogurt - tangy, bacterially fermented milk from the Middle East.

There is evidence of cultured milk products being produced as food for at least 4,500 years, says Wikipedia. The earliest yoghurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria living on the goat skin bags carried by the Bulgars (or Hunno-Bulgars), a nomadic people who began migrating into Europe in the 2nd century AD.

Today, many different countries claim yoghurt as their own, yet there is no clear evidence as to where it was first discovered.

The use of yoghurt by ancient Turks is recorded in the books Diwan Lughat al-Turk by Mahmud Kashgari and Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hajib written in the 11th century. In both texts the word "yoghurt" is mentioned in different sections and its use by nomadic Turks is described. The first account of a European encounter with yoghurt occurs in French clinical history: Francis I suffered from a severe diarrhoea which no French doctor could cure. His ally, Suleiman the Magnificent, sent a doctor who allegedly cured the patient with yoghurt.

Until the 1900s, yoghurt was a staple in diets of the South Asian, Central Asian, Western Asian, South Eastern European and Central European regions.

The Russian biologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov had an unproven hypothesis that regular consumption of yoghurt was responsible for the unusually long lifespans of Bulgarian peasants. Believing Lactobacillus to be essential for good health, Mechnikov worked to popularise yoghurt as a foodstuff throughout Europe.

It fell to a Sephardic Jewish entrepreneur named Isaac Carasso to industrialise the production of yoghurt. In 1919, Carasso, who was from Salonika, started a small yoghurt business in Barcelona and named the business Danone ("little Daniel") after his son. Carasso emigrated to the United States during World War II and set up a business in New York City under an Americanised version of the name: Dannon.

Yoghurt with added fruit jam was invented to protect yoghurt from decay. It was patented in 1933 by the Radlická Mlékárna dairy in Prague, and introduced to the United States in 1947, by Dannon.

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