Out of necessity Mongolians have found creative and ingenious ways to use the milk of all five of the domestic animals in the country: sheep, cattle, goats, camels and horses We call dairy products as a “tsagaan idee”, which means white food, symbolizing kindness, good-heart and innocence.
“Tsagaan idee” or dairy product is the main food of Mongolians. We, Mongolians treat our guests first with airag /fermented horse milk/ or cow milk to show our respect because dairy products are considered as symbol of kindness and to show them our welcoming and respect. There are also many milk related customs. Even today people are still using in their everyday life. For example, when child visits, adults treat them and touch child's head with yellow cream or milk cream wishing good health and happy life.
When spring season starts, herder's women throw tsatsal /a special spoon is used, most often carved out of wood filled by milk and symbol of blessing/ to the rear part of ger symbolizing hard time is passed and good time is coming and blossoming.
Previously we tried to introduce you in detail the methods of processing and making milk beverages and milk products in Mongolian traditional ways that is quite related to the herder's life style, weather condition, land and pasture and customs of Mongolia .
We can classify the tsagaan idee or dairy products as a beverage and food to eat.
Mongolia is considered as a country of livestock, because our total livestock number is over 30 million in contrast to the only 2.5 people.