Monday, July 05, 2010

About butter tea, yaks, #Commons pictures and the #Tropenmuseum

This months Tropenmuseum object of the month is a picture of a churn and a slab of tea. The milk of a yak together with some salt and tea are churned to make butter tea. As I was spoiled with the translation of the text that goes with this month's object of the month, I had a look for some additional information and  pictures of this interesting animal.

Sadly Commons let me down; I did not find pictures like the one of a caravan of yaks, or a yak being milked. There is no picture of a yak showing its distinctive tail or a picture of a shitting yak (looks like how a dog does it).

Anyway here is the Tropenmuseum object of the month.

Churn and Tea Slab

These two objects, a churn and a slab of tea, come from Tibet. They are used for making butter tea. This is done by churning tea, butter and salt in an elongated barrel like this. The butter is made from yak’s milk. Yaks are the long-haired mountain cattle of the Himalayas. Inhabitants of the Himalayas buy these slabs of tea in the lowland Chinese provinces. They break pieces off the slab and dilute these in boiling water. This mixture goes into the churn.

Yak butter tea is a rather greasy broth which is both nutritious and good for the digestion. And nice and hot. Often the tea is drunk with tsampa, a Tibetan staple made from roasted barley. Tsampa is mixed with butter tea and kneaded into a paste before being eaten

The Tropenmuseum is keen to hear from travellers who have tasted this butter tea in the Himalayas.
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