BUTTER. Who was the first butter-maker? Perhaps he was an Arab who, after a journey on camel back, opened the skin bags of milk which he had brought with him and discovered rich yellow masses of butter floating on top. Jolting cream in skin bags or gourds, carried on the backs of donkeys or dragged after a galloping horse, is an ancient method of butter making which is still used in some parts of South America and in certain oriental countries.
Although butter was known at least 4,000 years ago, it did not become a staple article of food until com paratively recently. In early times it was made from the milk of sheep and goats by crude churning proc esses, and hence could have had lit tle resemblance to the palatable and nutritious butter of today. It was chiefly used as med icine, as an ointment after bathing, and as an oil for burning in lamps. It was used to a certain ex tent in cooking, but olive and other oils were used more com monly for food, as is still the rule in south ern Europe. It is now recognized that butter is a very important food, especially for growing children, who crave it in considerable quantities.
Butter-fat contains valuable substances (sometimes called vitamins) necessary to vigorous health and growth, which are not contained in oleomargarin, made without cream or butter, or in lard and vege table oils (see Vitamins.) In India and Central Asia a peculiar form of butter, called "ghee," is commonly used. It is much like the clarified butter used by orthodox Jews in kosher (ceremonially clean) cookery, being made by boiling the water out of freshly made butter and adding salt and sometimes sour milk and herbs. The peo ple of Tibet are espe cially fond of butter in this f orm , even putting lumps of it into tea. (See Dairying.)