The History of Yogurt
July 07, 2013: As an Indian travelling abroad, I always wondered what was in store for me food wise. My aunt had told me that I should be prepared and learn to cook. It was already too late. I realized I was not too keen on experimenting with different cuisines neither was I able to afford an in-house cook. I knew I could not survive on Pizzas, Burgers or Tim Hortons. I started to look for Indian food. I had no luck as I was stationed in a scarsely populated town of Stephenville in Newfoundland, Canada. But what I found was Yogurt made of organic milk. Soon after I tasted it, I knew it was an incredibly smart and gratifying choice that I made.
After a year when I visited India, I started comparing Indian yogurt to Canadian yogurt. What I found was that Canadian yogurt was more sweet and came in a variety of flavors, whereas in India people prefer to make their own yogurt. Most Indians being vegeterians prefer whole milk-yogurt on their plate accompanied by other vegeterian dishes. A lot of Indians also use yogurt because it helps thicken curry. I went more into detail and started looking for material about yogurt and its history. I found out quite a lot of stunning facts.
- It is said that yogurt was discovered accidently. The Dorians who introduced animal husbandry to Greece and used the primitive methods of storing milk in warmer climates.
- People from Anatolia (Present day Turkey) would export yogurt to the Arabs for incense. Thus the name Yogurt is Turkish in origin.
- In India yogurt or raita goes back to the 12th century where it was spiked with pepper, mustard seeds, cinnamon and served as an accompaniment with other numerous dishes. During the time of Akbar, the Mughal emperor, the chefs would adorn his royal table with the best quality yogurt.
- Ghengis Khan, the Mongol warrior fed his army yogurt on a daily basis.
- After travellers moved from continent to continent, the word spread about the health benefits of yogurt and the consumption was as far as Japan and China.
- Turkish introduced yogurt to America in 1700's. A Turkish immigrant even owned a yogurt factory in the late 1800's.
- The first industralized yogurt was made in Spain in around early 1900's
- In 1950's the popularity of yogurt rose because people started becoming more health conscious. Yogurt became available in different flavors and varieties.
People have been consuming yogurt for at least 5,500 years.
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