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What is yogurt? Yogurt is a kind of cheese. A custardlike food with a tart flavor, prepared from milk curdled by bacteria, especially Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and often sweetened or flavored with fruit. Yogurt, fermented milk product prepared from fresh whole or skim milk, or from soy milk. Fermentation is caused by the addition of bacteria cultures, usually Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and sometimes Lactobacillus acidophilus. New batches of yogurt can be produced by introducing into concentrated milk a portion of a previously prepared batch. This type of fermented milk has been a constituent of the diet in southeastern Europe and Asia Minor since ancient times. Today it is popular throughout the world.
The use of yoghurt by mediaeval Turks is recorded in the books Diwan Lughat al-Turk by Mahmud Kashgari and Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hajib written in the eleventh century. In both texts the word "yoghurt" is mentioned in different sections and its use by nomadic Turks is described. The first account of a European encounter with yoghurt occurs in French clinical history: Francis I suffered from a severe diarrhea which no French doctor could cure. His ally Suleiman the Magnificent sent a doctor, who allegedly cured the patient with yoghurt.
Yoghurt was first introduced to the United States by Armenian immigrants Sarkis and Rose Colombosian, who started "Colombo and Sons Creamery" in Andover, Massachusetts in 1929. Colombo Yogurt was originally delivered around New England in a horse-drawn wagon inscribed with the Armenian word "madzoon" which was later changed to "yogurt", the Turkish name of the product, as Turkish was the lingua franca between immigrants of the various Near Eastern ethnicities who were the main consumers at that time. Yoghurt's popularity in the United States was enhanced in the 1950s and 60's when it was presented as a health food. By the late 20th century yoghurt had become a common American food item and Colombo Yogurt was sold to General Mills in 1993.
Etymology and spelling
In English, there are several variations of the spelling of the word. In the United States, yogurt is the usual spelling and yoghurt a minor variant. In the United Kingdom, yoghurt and yogurt are both current, yoghurt being more common, and yoghourt is an uncommon alternative. Canada uses mostly yogurt and yogourt, the latter being particularly common in bilingual packaging, as it is also the spelling in Canadian French; in Australia and New Zealand yoghurt prevails.
Whatever the spelling, the word is pronounced with a short "o" in the UK, a long or short "o" in New Zealand, and with a long "o" in North America, Ireland and Australia.
Further information: American and British English spelling differences
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