Note: this is a draft. Please comment if you have suggestions, clarifications, or pictures.

Distinctive [can get detail on the nature of the distinctiveness] strong, unpleasant smell and taste. Its most common usage applies to milk in a poorly prepared (poorly sterilized) calabash, in which odiferous bacteria are plentiful. Thus, the milk in the calabash of the alani woman can be described as lngusul. When goats forage on sukuroi [insert botanical name] or lopitara  [insert botanical name], their milk or their meat will have this smell or taste. People unfamiliar with this taste in their milk or meat may not like it, but those accustomed to it either like it, or at least accept it. By extension, this term applies to anything with a strong smell, such as a poorly cleaned bar or restaurant. [Check fact.]

[Query. Is it a singular recognizable smell or taste, or more amorphously, a more generalized unpleasant one? Are there extensions to lngusul taste beyond milk and goat meat? Are other meats or foods lngusul, besides goat?]


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The unpleasant smell of goat’s or sheep’s milk [fact check sheep] when it is at its strongest, especially during the dry season, and is not yet in the prepared calabash where it will ferment. The shift in milk taste from wet to dry season happens within weeks of the last rain. It is particularly noticeable at the evening milking. Some girls don’t drink milk that is strongly lkereu when it is hot from the goat, and are unhappy when some gets on their clothes because of its persistent smell. Hands sticky with Ikereu milk after milking need to be washed before they are used to milk cows, lest the flavor of the milk is contaminated with that of goat. The smell of the milk is particularly noticeable around sunset, some say when the animal’s blood is very hot. 


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Cream. Fat. Cream separates from milk when cool milk is able to sit for some time. The milk from Samburu herds of small Boran/Samburu cows is much less fatty than milk from European cows and may require even four or five days to fully separate [check fact]. This is only possible in the cooler climate of the Samburu highlands around Maralal. If separation occurs, it will be in the relatively early stages of the milk turning into a yoghurt-like product [Maa term]. Also refers to fat.

[Query. Does this refer to all fats? What about liquid fats, like corn oil, margarine?]

Lata ake

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Creamy. Descriptive term for milk with a smooth, fatty mouthfeel. Milk as smooth as when you are eating liquid fat. Very smooth; it just slips down. This is milk in an early stage of development, like a young kule nawato as the milk is maturing to yoghurt. Also the feeling of meat fat.

Robin Leparsanti, Longhiro, April 1, 2016.


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Adjective. Nice smelling. Especially applies to a freshly cleaned calabash prepared with lneriyoi or lorien. Also applies to any sweet-smelling wood, such as sandalwood. Locally, nataraquoi (need botanical name) leaves—from a small tree or shrub that looks like ginger (check this fact) that grows in the mountains, like the Mathews Range—are added to tea, and this makes the tea smell nice. Applies also to the various scents and perfumes used by the murran; and that girls add to their beads. The opposite of kong’u.


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Stinky; bad smell. Mainly used for an uncleaned calabash that will turn milk sour quickly, a calabash that is due for cleaning as you see that the milk in it is clotting. Most murran calabashes become kong’u because they are not prepared properly. Especially happens to milk kept in plastic all day or longer. This milk tastes even worse than from a dirty calabash. Also used generally to describe the smell of bad milk or meat, rotting fruit or cabbage, as well as some old meat with a strong smell, such as that from an old goat. In all cases, it’s something smelly, but you can still eat it, unlike something that is kesamis. The opposite of koropili, smelling nice.

Notes. Negative.


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Adjective. Used to describe tough meat. Refers to the meat of old milk cows and bulls, as well as some wild meats like buffalo and giraffe. Can also be applied to tough fat.


Note: this is a draft. Please let me know if you have comments, suggestions, or pictures.

Adjective. Bitter, and depending on context, astringent (keirapirap). When translating to English, Samburu speakers don’t differentiate between “bitter” and “astringent,” lumping them both under “bitter”. To be sure what is meant when speaking to a Samburu in English, you must ask where the taste is felt: on the tongue, or on back of the throat. You can also clarify by using the Samburu word for astringent, keirapirap. Milk may become intrinsically bitter if the cow has been grazing on loduaporo (need botanical name). More commonly, bitterness enters the milk through the character of the smoke that impregnates the calabash when it is cleaned. Bitterness and astringency tend to be fused in the flavors that emanate from the walls of the calabash. Thus, a little of keirapirap is often embedded inside the kodua of milk from a prepared calabash. Opinions about the positive and negative qualities of bitterness vary. As a rule, a little kodua is perceived a good thing, but, as in many other culinary cultures, strong bitter and astringent tastes are preferred by some people, and rejected by most as being too strong.

[Previous draft. Negative for milk. See loduaporo for a plant that makes the cow’s milk bitter.
Used in other contexts where it may be positive. Examples: some greens such as managu (related to sakuma), a rainy season fruit called lmorijoi, some solid (not liquid), dark, blackish honey from the flowers of the lparaa (many people like it, it’s good for a sore throat).]

[Notes. A very simple explanation. When you start using that herb everyday, there is the possibility that that herb will make the milk bitter. Even if they use one particular one—all of them if you keep using the same one—the content of that herb in that calabash makes the calabash bitter. In a week, three times in a week, like every other day, if you are milking everyday. If not milking everyday, might only be once in a week, but still shift. You keep changing as much as possible, not just alternate. It defeats the tongue. Meaning the tongue cannot hold it. It discomforts the tongue. It is bitter. Bitter to the extent the tongue cannot hold the bitterness. Like quinine. Burns the throat. Lmorijoi or lmarguet trees (first rain honey, white) used medicinally and not allowed for pregnant women; also some herbs, for example, lneryioy bark used as a treatment for cows that have retained their placenta after birth, especially stillbirth.]