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What is Tartar?

So this evening while brushing my teeth I started to think about tartar. I'm not sure why, but it popped into my head and so I thought about the meanings of the word. One meaning regards teeth, and perhaps that's why I started thinking about it. According to the dictionary tartar refers to a hard calcified deposit that forms on the teeth and contributes to their decay.
These calcified deposits are also referred to, interestingly enough, as calculus. And as with the dread I feel having to see a dentist I coincidentally have a fear of the branch of mathematics of the same name.


Steak tartare with egg, capers and onionsAlthough I've never eaten this, steak tartar (tartare) is a dish served traditionally as chopped, raw beef mixed with onions and capers and sometimes served with a raw egg resting atop it.


Now tartar sauce I've had and I like. To me it helps frozen fish such as fish sticks and others go down much easier--yes, I do cook it first. Perhaps served frozen like popsicles, frozen fish might actually be palatable.

Now this is interesting and until today had no idea of this meaning. I'll quote it straight from the dictionary:
a member of the combined forces of central Asian peoples, including Mongols and Turks, who under the leadership of Genghis Khan conquered much of Asia and eastern Europe in the early 13th century, and under Tamerlane (14th century) established an empire with its capital at Samarkand. See also Tatar .
• ( tartar) a harsh, fierce, or intractable person : "Merciful God! but you're a tartar, miss!" said the sheriff, ruefully.

And then there is Tartar, Switzerland which
is a municipality in the district of Hinterrhein in the Swiss canton of Graub√ľnden.
So in conclusion this is entirely more than I wanted to know about tartar and it is also a reminder of just how brushing one's teeth can lead to an hour of thought researching something about which you've really had no interest.



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