Thursday, July 16, 2009

You Get Used To It

The drink is rotten milk (technically sour yoghurt, but that doesn't seem like a very strong distinction to me) with water, heavily salted and blocks of ice.  It is drunk with a communal ladle.  It is the traditional hot weather drink here, like iced tea in some places or gin&tonic in others.  It is also used to make restless children go to sleep and it seems to work for that.  I got very, very drowsy shortly after my first experience.

Which makes me wonder about fermented milk. I have read of fermented mare's milk in Mongolia and Yak milk in Tibet... does lactose ferment to alcohol?  What form of alcohol?  Surely not ethanol.  Is there a sharia decision on fermented milk?

It tasted awful, the first time.  Evidently, most Americans don't take to it and drinking a whole bowl was worth a lot of cultural points.

I'm starting to like it.  What originally tasted like salty rotten milk has come to taste more like liquid sourdough.  And this all reminds me of the aguardiente/chichu stories from Ecuador... another time, maybe.

One note- Al Siebert in "The Survivor Personality" wrote that the single strongest correlation in survivors, the one that almost all had in common (disaster survivors, death camp and POW survivors, violence survivors) is that they would eat anything, try any food- not just in survival situations.  Even as kids they weren't afraid to try new foods.  Picky eaters are doomed.  Good to know.


Just rambling- I'm a little written out (finished the first draft of Citizen's Guide a few days ago) and most of the things that really intrigue me right now must be held under the Cone of Silence(tm). 


7 comments:

James said...

You're drinking Koumiss. Traditionally, it's fermented mare's milk because it has 40% more lactose than cow's milk. When fermented, the lactose breaks down into lactic acid, CO2, and - here's the important part - ethanol. The finished product is between .7 and 2.5% ethanol by volume. That's why those kids sleep so well. You can, however, use freeze distillation to up the alcohol content at which time I think it's called something like Ahrkhi. Salut!

Wesley said...

There is no Shariah agreement on fermented milk. It's open to interpretation because as long as the drink is made from Halal sources then the strength / purpose / etc. of the product is open to debate...

-wes

Michael said...

1. In some cultures, probably the ones you mentioned, alcohol is made from milk.
2. I'm doomed. Thanks for letting me know.

James said...

My wife's always making fun of me because I'll try anything on the menu that's new. Who knows? It could be my new favorite thing. Life's about new experiences, stretching yourself, finding new things. As I look over on my bookshelf, I see Seibert's book. It's in my reading rotation. Maybe I'll bump it to the top.

Steve Perry said...

I dunno. I expect that the picky eaters are the ones on the other side of the barbed wire, with the guns.

Steve said...

Yes. Fervently guarding their pickiness.

Fred Ross said...

You only need two things to get ethanol by fermentation: a free energy source for the fermenting organism with an energy of formation greater than that of ethanol, and a bug that can actually do the transformation. Which means that most sugars are fair game.