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The Butter Chronicles

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The following comprehension exercise is designed to help you test your understanding of the letter written by the butter fanatic to his wife. The letter presents an engaging tale of the author's global journey to uncover unusual and fascinating uses of butter. By attempting the multiple-choice questions, you will gain a deeper insight into the diverse cultural practices and beliefs related to butter described in the letter. This exercise will not only enhance your reading skills but also broaden your knowledge about the world of butter.

The letter is written by a fervent butter fanatic to his wife, detailing his adventures around the world in search of the strange and wonderful ways butter has been used. In his travels, he encounters unique butter experiences in various countries, such as smen in Marrakech, intricate butter sculptures in Tibet, bog butter in Ireland, Ayurvedic ghee massages in India, butter towers in France, and a butter ribbon game called Ghee whiz in Sweden. The letter conveys the excitement and fascination of the author as he discovers the diverse practices and beliefs surrounding butter.

My Dearest Buttercup,

As I sit down to pen this letter to you, my heart is filled with both joy and longing. Joy, for the incredible journey I have embarked upon, and longing for your warm embrace, my sweet love. As you know, my devotion to butter has driven me to scour the globe in search of the strangest and most wonderful ways this delightful dairy product has been used. I must share with you the astounding discoveries I have made during my travels, and the peculiar practices and beliefs surrounding butter that I have encountered.

In the vibrant markets of Marrakech, I was introduced to "smen," an aged, fermented butter with a pungent aroma. The locals cherish it as a delicacy and believe it enhances the flavours of their traditional dishes. I admit, my dear, I was initially taken aback by the scent, but it added a remarkable depth to the tagine I savoured.

As I ventured to the mystical land of Tibet, I found that butter holds great spiritual significance. Monks and artisans craft intricate butter sculptures, or "torma," which serve as offerings during religious ceremonies. I was left in awe at the sheer beauty and detail of their work. How they mould butter into such magnificent forms is a testament to their dedication and skill.

Upon my arrival in Ireland, I was warmly welcomed with a slab of freshly churned, golden butter atop a slice of soda bread. It was there that I learned of the ancient practice of burying butter in peat bogs for preservation. As peculiar as it may sound, my dear, I couldn't resist the temptation to taste this "bog butter." Its earthy, tangy flavour was unlike any butter I have experienced before.

My journey led me to India, where I delved into the world of Ayurveda, an ancient holistic healing system. To my astonishment, I discovered that ghee, a form of clarified butter, plays a vital role in various treatments. I was treated to a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage using warm ghee, and I must say, the experience was profoundly soothing. I can only imagine how much you, my love, would appreciate the nourishing touch of this golden elixir on your delicate skin.

My travels then took me to the heart of France, where I uncovered a peculiar piece of history. In medieval times, when the consumption of butter was forbidden during Lent, people would pay for indulgences, allowing them to partake in this simple pleasure. The funds collected from these indulgences were used to construct "butter towers" as an architectural element in certain cathedrals. The thought of our beloved butter being at the centre of such grandeur filled my heart with pride.

Lastly, my love, I found myself in Sweden, where I happened upon a unique tradition known as "ghee whiz." During festive occasions, participants engage in a lively game where they race to create the longest ribbon of butter using specialized butter curlers. It was a delightful sight, and I couldn't help but think of the joy it would bring to our children.

My sweet Buttercup, I hope that my tales of butter-laden adventures have brought a smile to your face, just as the thought of you never fails to bring one to mine. I eagerly await the day when I can return to your loving arms, share the flavours and stories of my travels, and continue our shared appreciation for the wonders of butter.

Yours forever,

Benjamin Butterworth

/ maɪ ˈdɪə.rɪst ˈbʌt.əkʌp /

/ əz ˈaɪ sɪt daʊn tə pen ðɪs ˈle.tə tə ju / maɪ hɑːt ɪz fɪld wɪð bəʊθ dʒɔɪ ənd ˈlɒŋ.ɪŋ / dʒɔɪ / fə ði ɪn.ˈkre.dəb.l̩ ˈdʒɜː.ni ˈaɪ həv ɪm.ˈbɑːkt ə.ˈpɒn / ənd ˈlɒŋ.ɪŋ fə jə wɔːm ɪm.ˈbreɪs / maɪ swiːt ˈlʌv / əz ju ˈnəʊ / maɪ dɪ.ˈvəʊʃ.n̩ tə ˈbʌt.ə həz ˈdrɪv.n̩ miː tə ˈskaʊə ðə ɡləʊb ɪn sɜːtʃ əv ðə ˈstreɪn.dʒɪst ənd məʊst ˈwʌn.də.fəl ˈweɪz ðɪs dɪ.ˈlaɪt.fəl ˈdeə.ri ˈprɒ.dʌkt həz biːn ˈjuːzd / ˈaɪ məst ʃeə wɪð ju ði ə.ˈstaʊnd.ɪŋ dɪ.ˈskʌ.və.rɪz ˈaɪ həv ˈmeɪd ˈdjʊər.ɪŋ maɪ ˈtræv.l̩z / ənd ðə pɪ.ˈkjuː.lɪə ˈpræk.tɪ.sɪz ənd bɪ.ˈliːfs sə.ˈraʊnd.ɪŋ ˈbʌt.ə ðət ˈaɪ həv ɪnˈk.aʊn.təd /

/ ɪn ðə ˈvaɪ.brənt ˈmɑːkɪts əv ˈmæ.rəˌkeʃ / ˈaɪ wəz ˌɪn.trə.ˈdjuːst tə smen / ən eɪdʒd / fə.ˈmen.tɪd ˈbʌt.ə wɪð ə ˈpʌn.dʒənt ə.ˈrəʊ.mə / ðə ˈləʊk.l̩z ˈtʃe.rɪʃ ˈɪt əz ə ˈde.lɪk.ə.si ənd bɪ.ˈliːv ˈɪt ɪn.ˈhɑːn.sɪz ðə ˈfleɪ.vəz əv ðeə trə.ˈdɪʃ.n̩əl ˈdɪ.ʃɪz / ˈaɪ əd.ˈmɪt / maɪ dɪə / ˈaɪ wəz ɪ.ˈnɪ.ʃə.li ˈteɪk.ən ə.ˈbæk baɪ ðə sent / bət ˈɪt ˈæ.dɪd ə rɪ.ˈmɑːk.əb.l̩ depθ tə ðə təˈʒiːn ˈaɪ ˈseɪ.vəd /

/ əz ˈaɪ ˈven.tʃəd tə ðə ˈmɪ.stɪk.l̩ lænd əv tɪ.ˈbet / ˈaɪ faʊnd ðət ˈbʌt.ə həʊldz ˈɡreɪt ˈspɪ.rɪ.tʃʊəl sɪɡ.ˈnɪ.fɪkəns / mʌŋks ənd ˌɑː.tɪ.ˈzænz krɑːft ˈɪn.trɪkət ˈbʌt.ə ˈskʌlp.tʃəz / ɔː ˈtɔː.mə / wɪtʃ sɜːv əz ˈɒ.fə.rɪŋz ˈdjʊər.ɪŋ rɪ.ˈlɪ.dʒəs ˈse.rɪ.mə.nɪz / ˈaɪ wəz left ɪn ɔːr ət ðə ʃɪə ˈbjuː.ti ənd ˈdiː.teɪl əv ðeə ˈwɜːk / ˈhaʊ ˈðeɪ məʊld ˈbʌt.ər ˈɪn.tə sʌtʃ mæɡ.ˈnɪ.fɪsnt ˈfɔːmz ɪz ə ˈte.stə.mənt tə ðeə ˌde.dɪˈk.eɪʃ.n̩ ənd skɪl /

/ ə.ˈpɒn maɪ ə.ˈraɪv.l̩ ɪn ˈaɪə.lənd / ˈaɪ wəz ˈwɔː ˈwelkəmd wɪð ə slæb əv ˈfre.ʃli tʃɜːnd / ˈɡəʊl.dən ˈbʌt.ər ə.ˈtɒp ə slaɪs əv ˈsəʊ.də bred / ˈɪt wəz ðə ðət ˈaɪ lɜːnd əv ði ˈeɪn.ʃənt ˈpræk.tɪs əv ˈbe.rɪ.ɪŋ ˈbʌt.ər ɪn piːt bɒɡz fə ˌpre.zə.ˈveɪʃ.n̩ / əz pɪ.ˈkjuː.lɪər əz ˈɪt meɪ ˈsaʊnd / maɪ dɪə / ˈaɪ ˈkʊdnt rɪ.ˈzɪst ðə temp.ˈteɪʃ.n̩ tə teɪst ðɪs bɒɡ ˈbʌt.ə / ɪts ˈɜː.θi / ˈtæŋ.i ˈfleɪ.və wəz ˌʌn.ˈlaɪk ˈ ˈbʌt.ə ˈaɪ həv ɪk.ˈspɪə.rɪənst bɪ.ˈfɔː / 

/ maɪ ˈdʒɜː.ni led miː tu ˈɪn.dɪə / weər ˈaɪ delvd ˈɪn.tə ðə wɜːld əv ˌaɪə.ˈveɪ.də / ən ˈeɪn.ʃənt həʊ.ˈlɪ.stɪk ˈhiːl.ɪŋ ˈsɪs.təm / tə maɪ ə.ˈstɒ.nɪ.ʃmənt / ˈaɪ dɪ.ˈskʌ.vəd ðət ɡiː / ə ˈfɔːm əv ˈklæ.rɪ.faɪd ˈbʌt.ə / ˈpleɪz ə ˈvaɪt.l̩ rəʊl ɪn ˈveə.rɪəs ˈtriːt.mənts / ˈaɪ wəz ˈtriː.tɪd tu ə riː.ˈdʒuː.və.neɪt.ɪŋ ˌaɪə.veɪ.dɪk ˈmæ.sɑːʒ ˈjuːz.ɪŋ wɔːm ɡiː / ənd ˈaɪ məst ˈseɪ / ði ɪk.ˈspɪə.rɪəns wəz prə.ˈfaʊ ˈsuː.ðɪŋ / ˈaɪ kən ˈəʊ ɪ.ˈmæ.dʒɪn ˈhaʊ ˈmʌtʃ ju / maɪ ˈlʌv / wʊd ə.ˈpriːʃ.i.eɪt ðə ˈnʌ.rɪʃ.ɪŋ tʌtʃ əv ðɪs ˈɡəʊl.dən ɪ.ˈlɪk.sər ɒn jə ˈde.lɪkət skɪn /

/ maɪ ˈtræv.l̩z ðen ˈtʊk miː tə ðə hɑːt əv frɑːns / weər ˈaɪ ʌnˈk.ʌ.vəd ə pɪ.ˈkjuː.lɪə piːs əv ˈhɪ.str̩i / ɪn ˌme.dɪ.ˈiːv.l̩ ˈtaɪmz / wen ðə kən.ˈsʌmp.ʃn̩ əv ˈbʌt.ə wəz fə.ˈbɪd.n̩ ˈdjʊər.ɪŋ lent / ˈpiːp.l̩ wʊd peɪ fər ɪn.ˈdʌl.dʒən.sɪz / ə.ˈlaʊ.ɪŋ ðəm tə pɑː.ˈteɪk ɪn ðɪs ˈsɪ̩ ˈpleʒ.ə / ðə fʌndz kə.ˈlek.tɪd frəm ðiːz ɪn.ˈdʌl.dʒən.sɪz wə ˈjuːst tə kən.ˈstrʌkt ˈbʌt.ə ˈtaʊəz əz ən ˌɑːk.ɪ.ˈtekt.ʃrəl ˈel.ɪ.mənt ɪn ˈsɜːt.n̩ kə.ˈθiː.drəlz / ðə ˈθɔːt əv ˈaʊə bɪ.ˈlʌ.vɪd ˈbʌt.ə ˈbiːɪŋ ət ðə ˈsen.tər əv sʌtʃ ˈɡræn.dʒə fɪld maɪ hɑːt wɪð praɪd /

/ ˈlɑː / maɪ ˈlʌv / ˈaɪ faʊnd maɪ.ˈself ɪn ˈswiːd.n̩ / weər ˈaɪ ˈhæ.pənd ə.ˈpɒn ə juː.ˈniːk trə.ˈdɪʃ.n̩ nəʊn əz ɡiː wɪz / ˈdjʊər.ɪŋ ˈfe.stɪv əˈk.eɪʒ.n̩z / pɑː.ˈtɪ.sɪ.pənts ɪn.ˈɡeɪdʒ ɪn ə ˈlaɪ.vli ɡeɪm weə ˈðeɪ reɪs tə kriː.ˈeɪt ðə ˈlɒŋ.ɡɪst ˈrɪ.bən əv ˈbʌt.ə ˈjuːz.ɪŋ ˈspe.ʃə.laɪzd ˈbʌt.ə ˈkɜː.ləz / ˈɪt wəz ə dɪ.ˈlaɪt.fəl saɪt / ənd ˈaɪ ˈkʊdnt help bət ˈθɪŋk əv ðə dʒɔɪ ˈɪt wʊd brɪŋ tu ˈaʊə ˈtʃɪl.drən /

/ maɪ swiːt ˈbʌt.əkʌp / ˈaɪ həʊp ðət maɪ teɪlz əv ˈbʌt.ə ˈleɪd.n̩ əd.ˈven.tʃəz həv ˈbrɔːt ə smaɪl tə jə feɪs / dʒəst əz ðə ˈθɔːt əv ju ˈne.və feɪlz tə brɪŋ wʌn tə maɪn / ˈaɪ ˈiː.ɡə.li ə.ˈweɪt ðə ˈdeɪ wen ˈaɪ kən rɪ.ˈtɜːn tə jə ˈlʌv.ɪŋ ɑːmz / ʃeə ðə ˈfleɪ.vəz ənd ˈstɔː.rɪz əv maɪ ˈtræv.l̩z / ənd kən.ˈtɪ.njuː ˈaʊə ʃeəd ə.ˌpriːʃ.i.ˈeɪʃ.n̩ fə ðə ˈwʌn.dəz əv ˈbʌt.ə /

/ jɔːz fə.ˈre.və /

/ ˈbe.dʒə.mɪn ˈbʌt.ə.wəθ / 

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The Butter Chronicles Comprehension Questions

To read the text, click the Readings button above. To listen to the audio, click the Audio button above. To read the IPA transcript, click the IPA Script button above. See if you can answer the comprehension questions below.

What did the butter fanatic discover in Marrakech?

In which country did the butter fanatic witness the creation of intricate butter sculptures?

What ancient practice did the butter fanatic learn about in Ireland?

In which country did the butter fanatic experience an Ayurvedic massage with ghee?

What historical structures were built using funds collected from indulgences that allowed people to consume butter during Lent?

In which country did the butter fanatic discover a game involving the creation of butter ribbons?

What is the name of the game the butter fanatic discovered in Sweden?

What form of butter is used in Ayurvedic massages?

Which of the following best describes the taste of the "bog butter" that the butter fanatic tried in Ireland?

To whom is the butter fanatic writing the letter?

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