known in the West as yogurt, is used almost in every Iranian
family as well as all over the Middle Eastern and Balkan countries.
Some physicians attribute the stamina and longevity of the Middle
Eastern and Balkan people to Mast. However, these same people
were among the poorest people in the world and their daily food
lacked the vitamins required for good health. That's why yogurt was
considered the panacea for human ills, and the Iranians' long lite
in the past was also attributed to it. It is said that Chengiz Khan
lived on it during his long marches through Mongolia and Iran when
he couldn't obtain other food.
The Middle Easterners had known mast, which is now popular in
the West, by different names. In Iran, yogurt is the food of the
rich as well as the poor. Walking down the avenues at lunch hour in
major cities, you will see the mason, cobbler, the carpenter, the
storekeeper, all using yogurts as a part of their daily food. If you
go into a restaurant, you will find yogurt served there in many
An Iranian housewife whose ancestors have had this health food
for generations finds many uses for it. She serves yogurt with
meals, makes very delicious warm or cold soup with it, or serves it
as a dessert. For generations, Iranians have served yogurt as a soft
drink in summer as well. They dilute it with water, add a pinch of
salt, ipearmint, and call it abdugh. The Iranian housewife,
particularly in rural areas, keeps abdugh on hand and serves
it to her family and guests on hot summer days. This drink has
served as a perfect substitute for salt tablets.
Yogurt may be served with diced cucumbers, green onions, chopped
fresh dill, and a pinch of salt and pepper as a salad dish. Quite
often it is used for marinating meat. It not only makes the meat
tender, but also gives it a very delicate flavor. As a dessert or as
a pick up between meals, yogurt can be served with sugar,
fresh fruits, canned fruits, preserves. or honey. Try it!