the culture of yogurt…

March 19, 2013


I looked up yogurt on wiki and evidently there are many different kinds of it in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and India.  I make my own yogurt sometimes, but I use a yogurt machine, so it probably isn’t the proper way to make it.

I’m also reading a book about fermentation and it explains the history of yogurt, how to make it, and the science behind yogurt cultures.  While American consumption of yogurt has increased 400% in the last thirty years, it still lags behind Europe and other countries.

Yogurt is clearly the most nutritious dairy out there.  We Americans eat only 12.8 pounds of yogurt per person a year while Europe eats as much as 60 pounds per person a year.

I was just at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and saw that this state and others like New York make dairy a high priority.  However, at the food court, milkshakes were sold (and very popular I might add) as the dairy product on display.

We clearly love our ice cream in America, but yogurt is not for everyone.  Maybe it’s a middle class thing.

There are 40 million Americans who are lactose intolerant.  Yogurt is better for lactose intolerant people as it contains certain bacteria that make it easier to digest.  90% of some African and Asian countries are lactose intolerant and 5% of Europeans in some parts.

Ice cream is definitely not considered good for us, but frozen yogurt is seen as a healthy alternative.  However, frozen yogurt has a lot of the same ingredients as ice cream like sugar, artificial flavoring, but has milk instead of the cream used in ice cream.

Yogurt has been around for tens of thousands of years, so it’s no wonder that it’s so popular and ingrained in so many different cultures all over the world, but Africa and until the 1960s, the US.  I don’t think the US knows how to treat yogurt with the same respect as the Mesopotamia region, but we are embracing it more and more, according to wiki.

When I was in China, where seemingly everyone is lactose intolerant, there was some ice cream and yogurt drinks sold.  Maybe these aren’t real dairy products.  I know a lot of people don’t think dairy is really even necessary to the body and is in fact bad for it.  Now, I don’t eat a whole lot of ice cream, but I do like milk and yogurt and of course, butter and cheese.  Maybe because America is so known for other dairy products like cheese, ice cream, and milk, we don’t fully enbrace yogurt.

I guess veganism is the real deal in Asia, as they have tofu and tons of produce to choose from instead of dairy products.  But of course, they eat eggs.  Maybe we the liberal set like to be vegan because it is more humane, but in Asia, it’s in their nature not to eat dairy and they have the constitution to eat other foods that Westerners might shun, like lotus, cabbage, bok choy, and a variety of beans.


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