Arpad Dobriban

Food as an example for cultural links – Arpad Dobriban and the churut collection

 This  projects are about food; however, the subject is not food itself – rather its wider context, woven around a story.

Certain foods guide us back into the past like Ariadne’s thread; calling upon collective memory they create a sense of belonging and show us where we come from. The Churut series is comprised of dried fermented milk products from different parts of the world – from Mongolia through Central Asia and the Middle East all the way to Switzerland. Although the milk of different animals and similar fermentation processes are used, the shapes and usage are all the more diverse. The method originated in Mongolia, where it is called aaruul.

A spicy variant is part of the traditional cuisine of Armenian expats, who use it to flavour broth. A similar foodstuff is called kurt in Kazakhstan, qurut in Uzbekistan – where it is eaten as a snack with beer; in Afghanistan it is known as quroot, whereas the Jordanian variant is called jameed and is used for making broth. There is dried fermented milk in Iran and parts of Iraq inhabited by Kurds too. There it is called kask, and is dissolved in water and used as a sauce. The Greek and Cypriot variant is named trahanas. There the milk is mixed with grain and serves as a soup base. Another European variant is the schabziger from Switzerland; it is made from dried whey and the blue fenugreek plant. Its uses include grating it on pastas.