Canakkale Food and Turkish Cuisine
It is said that three major kinds of cuisine exist in the world; Turkish, Chinese, and French. Fully justifying its reputation, Turkish Cuisine is always a pleasant surprise for the visitor.
In addition to being the refined product of centuries of experience, Turkish Cuisine has a very pure quality. The variety and simplicity of the recipes and the quality of the ingredients are guarantees of delicious meals.
Kebabs are dishes of plain or marinated meat either stewed or grilled. Almost every district of Anatolia has its own kebap specialty. Lamb is the basic meat of Turkish kitchen. Pieces of lamb threaded on a skewer and grilled over charcoal form the famous "Sis kebab", now known in many countries of the world. "Doner Kebab " is another famous Turkish dish, being a roll of lamb on a vertical skewer turning parallel to a hot grill. You should also try "Alinazik", "Sac kavurma", "Tandir" and different types of '' Kofte '' as typical meat dishes.
The aubergine is used in a wide variety of dishes from "karniyarik" and "hünkarbegendi", to "patlican salatasi" (eggplant salad) and "patlican dolmasi" (stuffed eggplants). It can be cooked with onions, garlic and tomatoes and served cold as "imam bayildi".
A delicious Turkish specialty is "pilav", a rice dish which is difficult for the inexperienced cook to prepare. In the Black Sea Region of Turkey they make a great dish with rice and small fish called "Hamsili pilav". Another interesting dish from the same region is "Miroloto".
"Borek" are pies of flaky pastry stuffed with meat, cheese or potatoes. The delicious Turkish natural yoghurt, "yogurt", is justifiably renowned. A typical appetizer prepared with yogurt is "Cacik". And, of course, don't forget to try "Manti", with loads of yogurt.
One notable variety are the "zeytinyaglilar", dishes cooked with olive oil. "Dolma" is a name applied to such vegetables as grape leaves, cabbage leaves, and green peppers stuffed with spiced rice (Biber dolma). You should also try "Baklali Enginar" (with artichoke) and "Tekmil Lahana" (with cabbage).
Turkish sweets are famous throughout the world and many of these have milk as the basic ingredient such as "sütlac", "tavuk gögsü", "kazandibi", "helva", "asure", but the best-known are "baklava" and "kadayif" pastries.
Among the national drinks , Turkish Coffee ,Turkish Tea , ayran, shira, salgam, sahlep and boza should be mentioned.Turkish Coffee comes thick and dark in a small cup and may be served without sugar, with a little sugar or with a lot of sugar. Either way, it is truly delicious. If you like alcohol you can try "Raki" made of anise, it is called as "lions drink" because you must be strong as a lion to drink it.
Soups are coming in a wide variety. These may be light, or rich and substantial. They are generally based on meat stock and served at the start of the meal. Lentil soup is the most common and best loved variety, but there are other preferred soups such as yayla, tarhana, asiran and guli soups.
Mezes are "Hors d'oeuvres" or appetizers figuring mainly at meals accompanied by wine or raki . Eaten sparingly, they arouse the appetite before the meal proper. Examples of meze include gozleme, fried aubergines with yogurt, lakerda (bonito pre-served in brine), pastirma (pressed beef), kisir, humus, fish croquettes, and lambs' brains with plenty of lemon juice. At many restaurants a selection of meze is brought to the table on a tray immediately after the drinks are served for the customers to make their choice.
Some other typical Turkish dishes are:
A local variation of Doner Kebap would be Cag Kebabi fro Erzurum. It is made with slices of lamb threaded on a spit, with 10 percent minced beef mixed with milk, chopped onion, black pepper and flaked chili pepper spread between each slice to hold them together. The surface is covered tightly with wood ash, and then the kebab is roasted horizontally over a wood fire. As the outer surface browns, the cook takes a metal skewer and threads it through the cooked surface, slices off the portion with a long döner knife, and serves it with thin lavas bread.
For those wh travel to engage in clunary pursuits, the Turkish Cuisine is worthy of exploration. The variety of dishes that make up the cuisine, the ways they all coma together in feastlike meals, and the evident intricacy of each craft involved offer enough material for life-long study and enjoyment. It is not easy to discern a basic element or a single dominant featura, like the Italian pasta or French sauce. Whether in a humble home, at a famous restaurant, or at diner in a Bey's mansion, familiar patterns of this rich and diverse cuisine are always present. It is a rare art which satisfies the senses while reconfirming the higher order of society, community and culture.
A practically-minded child watching child watching Mother cook "cabbage dolma" on a lazy, grey winter day is bound to wonder: "Who on earth discovered this peculiar combination of sauteed rice, pinenuts, currants, spices, and herbs all tightly wrapped in translucent leaves of cabbage, each roll exactly half an inch thick and stacked up on an oval serving plate decorated with lemon wedges? How was it possible to transform this humble vegetable to souch heights of fashion and delicacy with so few additional ingredients? And, how can such a yummy dish also possibly be good for you?
The modern mind, in a moment of contemplation, has smilar thoughtsupon entering a modest sweets shop where "baklava" is the generic cousin of a dozen or so sophisticated sweet pastries wiht names l
One can only conclude that the evolution of this glorius cuisine was not an accident, but rather, as with the other grand cuisines of the world, it was a result of the combination of three key elements, a nurturing environment, the imperialkitchen, and a long social tradition. Anurturing environmental is irreplaceable. Turkey is known for an abudence and diversity of foodstuff due to its rich flora, fauna and regional differentiation. Secondly, the legacy of an imperial kithcen is inescepable. Hundreds of cooks, all specializing in different types of dishes, and all eager to please the royal palate, no doubt had their influence in perfecting the cuisine as we know it today. The palace kitchen, supported by a complex social organization, a vibrant urban life, specialization of labor, wordwide trade, and total kontrol of the Spice Road, all reflected the culmination of wealth and the flourishing of culture in the capital of a mighty empire. Finally, the longevity of social organization should not be taken lightly either. The Turkish State of Anatolia is a millennium old and so, naturally, is its cuisine. Time is of the esence, as Ibn'i Haldun wrote, "The religion of the King, in time, becomes that of the people", which also holds true for the King's food. Thus, the 600-year reign of the Otoman Dynasty an an exceptional cultural transition into the present day of modern Turkey led to the evolution of a grand cuisine through differentiation, the refinement and perfection of dishes, and the sequence and combination of the meals in which they are found.
It is quite rare when all three of the above conditions are met, as they are in French, Chinese and Turkish Cuisine. Turkish cuisine has the added prilege of being at the crossroads of the Far East and the Mediterranean, resulting in a long and complex history of Turkishmigration from the steppes of Central Asia(where they mingled with the Chinese) to Europe (where their influence was felt all the way to Vienna). Such unique characteristics and extensive history have bestowedupon Turkish cuisine a rich selection of dishes all of which can be prepared and combined wiht others to create meals of almost infinite variety, but always in a non-arbi-trary way.This led to a cuisine that is open to improvisation through development of regional styles, while retaining its deep structure, as all great works of art do. The cuisine is also an integral aspect of the culture. It is a part of the rituals of everyday life. It reflects spirituality, in forms that are specific tı it, through symbolism and practise.
Anyone who visits Turkey or has a meal in a Turkish home, regardless of the success of the particular cook, is sur to notice the uniqueness of the cuisine. Our intention here is to help the uninitiated enjoy turkish food by achieving a more detailed understanding of the repertoire of dishes and their related cultural practices as well as their spiritual meaning.
GRAINS: BREAD TO BOREK
Ekmek, pide and simit are meant to be eaten the same day are baked, as they usually are. The leftover ekmek goes into a variety of dishes, becomes chicken feed, or is mixed with milk for the neighborhood cats.
Manti, small dumplings of dough filled with a special meat mix, are eaten with generous servings of garlic yogurt and a dash of melted butter with paprika. This is a meal in itself as a Sunday lunch affair for the whole family, to be followed by an afternoon nap.
Borek is a dish for special occasions and requires great skill and patience, unlessyou have thin sheets of dough already rolled out bought from your corner grocery store. Anyone who can accomplish this delicate task using the rolling pin, becomes the most sought-out person in their circle of family and friens. The sheets are then layered or folded into various shapes before being filled with cheese or meat mixes and baked or fried. Every household enjoys at least five different varieties of borek as a regular part of its menu.
Along with bread, "pilav" is another staple pf the Turkish kitchen. The most common versions are the cracked-wheat pilaf and rice pilaf. A goog cracked-wheat pilaf made with whole onions, sliced tomatoes, gren peppers sauteed in butter, andboiled in beef stock is a mealş in itself. Many versions of the rice pilaf accompany vegetable and meat dishes. The distinguishing feature of the Turkish pilaf is the soft buttery morsels of rice which readily roll off your spoon, rather than sticking together in a mushy clump.
"MEZE" DISHES TO ACCOMPANY THE SPIRITS
The bare minimum meze for rakı are slices of honydew melon ang creamy feta cheese with freshly baked bread. Beyond this, a typical meze menu includes dried and marinated mackerel, fresh salad greens in thick yogurt sauce and garlic, plates of cold vegetable dishes cooked or fried in olive oil, fried crispy savoury pastry, deep-fried mussels and squid served in a sauce, tomato and cucumber salad, and fish eggs in a sauce. The main course that follows such a meze spread will be fish or grilled meat.
When the main course is kebab, then the meze spread is different. In this case, several plates of different types of minced salad greens and tomatoes in spicy olive oil, mixed with yogurt or cheese, "humus"(chick peas mashed in tahini), bulgur and red lentil balls, raw kofte, marinatedstuffed eggplant, peppers with spices and nuts, and pickles are likely to be served.