Most of my blog readers know that I eat yoghurt every single day, and that I make my own Greek yoghurt whenever I am at home. While we are on vacation in Europe, I have had good and not so good Greek yoghurt. Yesterday I bought Turkish yoghurt as well as Greek yoghurt in order to compare the taste. I love the following story from The Gutsy Gourmet:
A FEW NOTES ON YOGURT
Yogurt is made and consumed by many different ethnic groups throughout the world. It is probably most popular in Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Western Asia. It's popularity in the United States is quite recent and was due to the emigration to the U.S. from other countries.
As one of Armenian ancestry, I had heard stories of the difficulty in bringing in, through U.S. customs, the bacterial culture that is needed to make yogurt. As immigrants were processed at Ellis Island, the INS officers would look at the little jars of yogurt starter carried by the immigrants. they would have most certainly opened the jars and smelled the sour, acrid odor of the bacterial culture. It was of course immediately thrown into the trash. In correspondence to the old country, one Armenian immigrant bemoaned the fact that they could neither buy or make this diet staple they had enjoyed for centuries. An enterprising woman in Turkish-Armenia, who was shortly leaving for America, came up with a solution to the problem. She took clean white handkerchiefs and dipped them into a large bowl of yogurt and then hung them out to dry. She then carefully folded them with her other linen and packed them in her trunk. After she got to the U.S. she had no difficulty in going through customs with clean white hankies. Once settled, she dipped these hankies in warm milk and thus freed the bacteria to culture and make yogurt.
Yogurt is a very healthful milk product and is really the precursor to making cheese. You can drain Yogurt of the whey and have a very high quality cream cheese. It has for centuries been a cure for ulcers and just recently used in the replenishing of bacterial flora in the digestive tract after extensive antibiotic therapies which deplete the body of good bacteria as well as the bad.