Mongols Invented Powdered Milk
by Borjgin N. Purevsuren
They say that the milk of animals was created by God. Well, powdered milk was made by humans, and Mongolians are considered to be among the first in the world to learn how to do it.
Marco Polo arrived in Mongolia in 1275 and stayed in Kublai Khaan’s court for 17 years. During this time, he made written records of how the Mongols used powdered milk. It seems amazing that Mongolians were producing dehydrated milk during the medieval 13th century, but powdered milk was processed by hand for the needs of daily life.
S. Jambaldorj wrote about dried milk in his book, A Treasure of Mongolian Secrets. How did the Mongols make powdered milk? There is the following method: add millet and rice to milk little by little, and boil it until it becomes as thick as cream; then let it dry.
Mongolians still produce powdered milk in the Gobi regions. Herders of Dundgobi and Omnogobi aimags process Tsulkhir – “goosefoot” or “wild spinach”, a pod-bearing pea plant which grows in sandy soil – by hand and have been using it in place of rice and flour since ancient times. After tsulkhir is ripe, it is gathered and dehydrated in the open air at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Tsulkhir rice: the dehydrated tsulkhir is cleaned completely and is used in place of millet for making tea and meals. Tsulkhir flour: dehydrated goosefoot plants are mashed in a mortar until they become as powdery as snuff; it is used fo making various meals and pastries.
I clearly remember that during the zud disaster of the Year of the Monkey, 1944-45, when flour and rice were scarce, the elders of my birthplace, in the Gobi, were using flour and rice made of tsulkhir.
Dehydrated milk made of tsulkhir was consumed all over Mongolia through the long, cold winter and spring. First of all, rice of the herbaceous plant is dried until its bitter taste is gone. Then a bunch is fried in a cast-iron pan. A ladle of the fried rice is then cooked in milk. The cooked rice is dehydrated in the open air. Afterwards, it is mashed into flour. Finally, the dehydrated tsulkhir milk is stored in a cool, dry place.
A tablespoon of the powdered milk is ample for a whole kettle of tea.
A Case of Criminal Cucumbers
On October 16, investigators looked into a case of illegal cucumber production. The Mon Ogooj Company, founded in Vietnam, has been manufacturing cucumbers with the label “Made In Vietnam”; however, the produce was not harvested in Vietnam, but rather through a secret tunnel in apartment building #22 in the Bayanzurkh district. Heat passes through the tunnel, which creates warmth for the cucumbers, insects and rodents living there.
Harvesting the produce breaks the Consumer Law. Tax evasion was also charged against the culprits. Police found over 7000 cucumbers and 67 boxes which had the “Made In Vietnam” label on them. 26 sacks of bottle lids and 1177 false labels were also discovered.
Some of the cucumbers had spoiled.
Three Vietnamese citizens were overseeing the production. The employees were Mongolian citizens.
Cuba Donates Rat Poison
Mongolia, always fond of celebrating anniversaries, will mark 40 years of diplomatic relations with Cuba on December 7.
To celebrate the occasion, Cuban Ambassador Pedro Moran said Cuba will donate one tonne of rat poison to Mongolia. In 1999, train officials discovered seven rats aboard the internatinal train from China. These rats were allegedly the first to appear on Mongolian soil. Presumably, the donated poison will be used to kill other vermin.
Canis Peddling in Khovd
Montsame News Agency reported that an unnamed, yet renowned hunter sold wolf parts at the open market of the capital city, Khovd, Khovd aimag. One kilogram of wolf meat cost approximately T1000-1500, tongue is T600, kidney costs T400 (each), a claw is T900, and, yes, an eyeball goes for T300. Wolf skins are being sold at T12,000.