Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tartar Tucker.

Before I give you today’s story - a random note on yesterday’s post. There is a character called Barkis in Dickens’ David Copperfield. He declares “Barkis is willin!” to marry the faithful servant Peggotty. The phrase has apparently “entered the language” - not mine, obviously, although it had clearly had entered the language of the editors of Yankee Notions by 1854. Is there a clue here?

As for today, I thought after Tomato Marshmallows and Barkis’ menu of Pig and Injun, you might need something easy on the digestion. This is how make genuine kumiss, or fermented mare’s milk - a true ‘restorative to the stomach’, unless of course you proceed to stage 2 and distill it into the hard stuff.

‘Take of mare’s milk of one day any quantity, add to it a sixth part of water, an eighth part of the sourest cow’s milk that can be got, but at a future period a smaller portion of the old kumis will better answer the purpose of souring; cover the vessel with a thick cloth, and set it in a place of moderate warmth; leave it to rest for twenty-four hours, at the end of which the milk will have become sour, and a thick substance gathered at top; then with a stick, made at the lower end in the manner of a churn staff, beat it till the thick substance above-mentioned be blended intimately with the subjacent fluid; let it rest twenty-four hours in a high narrow vessel like a churn. The agitation must be repeated as before, till the liquor appears to be perfectly homogeneous, and in this state it is called kumis (or koumis) of which the taste outhg to be a pleasant mixture of sweet and sour. Agitation must be employed every time before it is used. When well prepared in close vessels, and kept in a cold place, it will keep three months or more without any injury to its quality.
It serves both as a drink and food; it is a restorative to the stomach, and a cure for nervous disorders, phthisis, &c.
The Tartars distil this fermented milk, and obtain from it a spirituous liquor, which they drink instead of brandy.

From: A Survey of the Turkish Empire, by William Eton, 1801.

Quotation for the Day …

Yoghurt is very good for the stomack, the lumbar regions, appendicitis and apotheosis. Eugene Ionesco.

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