Sir Baker’s culinary advice, as we have seen in past blogs, ranged throughout a wide variety of topics – here, he expounds on the best way to prepare milk for ‘delicate patients.’ He is talking about his time in Eastern Sudan, where he and his wife travelled and lived about a year with both settled and nomadic groups in the area:
Baker, Samuel –The Nile Tributaries Of Abyssinia; And The Sword Of Hamran Arabs, 1867
Some persons dislike the milk of the camel; I think it is excellent to drink pure, but it does not answer in general use for mixing with coffee, with which it immediately curdles; it is extremely rich, and is considered by the Arabs to be more nourishing than that of the cow.
To persons of delicate health I should invariably recommend boiled milk in preference to plain; and should the digestion be so extremely weak that liquid milk disagrees with the stomach, they should allow it to become thick, similar to curds and whey: this should be then beaten together, with the admixture of a little salt and cayenne pepper; it then assumes the thickness of cream, and is very palatable.
The Arabs generally prepare it in this manner; it is not only considered to be more wholesome, but in its thickened state it is easier to carry upon a journey.
With an apology to European medical men, I would suggest that they should try the Arab system whenever they prescribe a milk diet for a delicate patient. The first operation of curdling, which is a severe trial to a weak stomach, is performed in hot climates by the atmosphere, as in temperate climates by the admixture of rennet, &c.; thus the most difficult work of the stomach is effected by a foreign agency, and it is spared the first act of its performance.
I have witnessed almost marvellous results from a milk diet given as now advised.