Our gift to the world cuisine: “Yogurt”

Vegetable dishes in Turkish cuisine culture 2
13 October 2021
Rooted and Rich Turkish Cuisine
30 October 2021

Yogurt has a special place in our culture. Although there is no clear information about the date of its emergence, the use of the word “yoghurt” in its current sense in Divanü Lügâti’t-Türk by Kaşgarlı Mahmut and Kutadgu Bilig by Balasagunlu Yusuf Has Hâcip is the biggest proof that yoghurt is a part of our history. are signs. The fact that yoghurt, which spread to the world, especially Europe, in time, is mentioned with words close to this phonetic in many countries, strengthens this argument.

Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Gastroenterology faculty member Dr. Ali Özden’s extensive article titled “History of Yogurt” published in the journal “Current Gastroenterology” is among the most satisfying sources on this subject.

B.C. He enters by reminding that wandering societies, which are estimated to have gradually transitioned from hunting and gathering to settled order in 12,000-11,000 BC, domesticated wild animals and wild plants and used them as food sources. Ali Ozden on the subject. In addition, sheep and goats in Asia BC. In 8,000 BC, the cow 6,000 BC, the buffalo BC. It gives information that it was domesticated in Asia in the 4,000 BC. According to the information conveyed, the Sumerians (3.500 BC), Hittites (2.500 BC), Israelites (1.100 BC) both raised milk-producing animals and consumed their milk.


Now let’s come to the discovery of yogurt…

Stating that there are many rumors about the discovery of yogurt, Dr. Ali Özden “If the possible is real; Our ancestors, who once fed their herds on the Asian steppes, had to consume the milk of the herds in order to survive, and they learned to process the milk in time,” he says.

“Turkish Communities use the term ‘yoghurt’ in the 8th century AD. They also call the dried yoghurt ‘Kurt’. It is seen that the liquefied form of water is called ‘suvuk’ yoghurt…”

On the other hand, one of the most basic foodstuffs of the Uighur Turks was yogurt. According to pagan beliefs, they offered foods made of yogurt and milk to the Gods who guarded the world. The expression yoghurt is also mentioned in the Uighur texts found around Turhan, Karahoca (Hoçu) in the northeast of the Taklamakan Desert. It is seen that the expressions yoghurt and yoghurt are used in Turkish texts of the 8th century AD.

The word yoghurt was used in the present sense in the work called Divan-ı Lügat-ı Türk, written by Kaşgarlı Mahmut in the 11th century AD, between 1073-1077 and Kutatgu Bilig, written by Balasagunlu Yusuf Hacib between 1069-1070. Oghuzs, Seljuks and Ottomans brought yoghurt with their culture to the countries they ruled.

Stating that the famous traveler Venetian Marco Polo met with Kublai Khan during his trip to Asia in the 13th century, he also met with dairy products. Ali Özden reminds that Marco Polo talked about the widespread consumption of kumiss and yogurt.

Ali Özden also quotes an anecdote about yogurt:

“16. In the 16th century, the King of France, François I, used many drugs due to a febrile gastrointestinal disease, but could not recover. The king’s mother asked Suleiman the Magnificent to send a physician for the treatment of her son, François. Sultan Suleiman also sends a Jewish physician to Paris, who is knowledgeable about the king’s illness. Some report that this doctor went to France by ship, taking his goats with him, while others report that he went by land with a flock of sheep. The Jewish Ottoman physician starts off by making yogurt from the milk he milked in great secrecy. Then, by adding some other ingredients to the yogurt he makes, he prepares the miracle-working product. He does not give anyone the secret of making yogurt or the mixture he prepares. 1, who recovered with the treatment of the Ottoman physician. François named yogurt the milk of eternal life (The milk of Eternal Life = Le lait de Vie eternelle) and asked his physicians to deal with the issue. French physicians, who felt humiliated by the success of the Ottoman physician, were not interested in this oriental treatment approach.

Another of the rumors about the journey of yogurt from Anatolia to Europe is as follows:

During the reign of Sultan Mecit, an Armenian family from Kayseri became rich by producing yoghurt in Istanbul, and then the family started printing business. After completing his education in Venice, Aram Dökmeciyan, the eldest son of this family, is sent to Paris with his younger brother Artin. While Aram was doing his law doctorate in Paris, his father dies and the money begins to come from Istanbul. Thereupon, Aram’s father began his profession as a yoghurt producer. However, the French did not like the taste of yoghurt and did not give much credit to yoghurt, thinking that it could be harmful for health.

Aram turns to Professor Metchnikoff, the second director of the Pasteur Institute, for help, to address the public’s concern. Aram Prof. He tells Metchnikoff that besides being beneficial for health, yogurt is widely consumed in Istanbul and Anatolia for the treatment of many diseases. Metchnikoff both ate and examined the yogurt that Aram brought every day. Metchnikoff later said, “I ate the yogurt that Aram made and analyzed it. I am of the opinion that it is not harmful to health and is beneficial for the body”. Thereupon, Aram yoghurts became sought after in Paris. Although Aram is rich, he loses his only son during World War II, and he becomes unable to work because of his sadness. He sells his facility to a company that will later become the world’s giant in yoghurt production.

In our blog post, Dr. Let’s end with the paragraph that Ali Özden completed:

“Which nation loves the coagulated form of milk, that is, yoghurt, as much as the Turks? The life of the Turks is identified with milk-yogurt-ayran. I remember very well that years ago, a patient of mine said to me, ‘Hodja, the shepherd milks the milk, then plucks the yoghurt grass and dips it into the milk jug, mixes the milk, then closes the jug, and when the sun is bent on a long day, the milk turns into yoghurt’.

Here it is, dear friends…

Our cuisine and our food culture have a history, and this history that we are always inspired by contains interesting information as well as its flavors.

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