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Refined Tastes in a Refined Place: Eating Habits in the Ottoman Palace During the 15th-17th Centuries
 
Arif Bilgin
 

Table 1: Amounts and weights of bread consumed in the palace at various dates

Date

Has Bread
(pcs)

Harcî bread (pcs)

Has Bread
(in grams)*

Harcî Bread
(in grams)

2.II.1489-22.I.149017

230 090

327 028

637

550

23.I.1490-12.I.149118

227 544

322 388

637

550

27.IX.1527-13.IX.152819

509 160

739 188

458

428

25.IV.1574-13.IV.157520

977 940

1 255 872

428

401

10.X.1613-29.IX.161421

1 891 180

2 158 306

401

377

24.VI.1615-12.VI.161622

1 430 436

2 672. 800

401

377

1.VII.1617-20.VI.161823

1 600 900

2 497 224

401

377

19.XII.1625-7.XI.162624

1 244 160

2 451 060

401

377

18.XI.1626-1.III.162825

1 719 428

3 956 316

401

377

15.III.1631-13.III.163226

1 289 536

2 224 960

401

377

6.III.1637-24.II.163827

2 117 728
(meyane undan)

1 689 876

401

377

7.V.1638-27.IV.163928

-

3 086 996

-

377

Besides the breads made from has and fodula flours taken to the palace, the documents also mention that various other breads (nân) were made. The kitchen logs make mention of these baked goods: : nân-ı müdevver, nân-ı pîç, nân-ı nohut, nân-ı mirahûrî, nân-ı kirde, nân-ı sükkerî, nân-ı pite29, imam ekmeği, çörek, poğaça-i revganî, poğaça-i pîç, semiz halka, simid halka, gözleme, börek, börek-i sükkerî30, tavuk böreği, rikak (yufka), peksimed, nukul and nukul-ı sükkerî31. All of these baked goods were distributed to the population of the palace according to their ranks. As indicated in the table below, in 1651 it was the sultan who partook of the greatest amount and variety of these baked goods. In contrast, the Vâlide Sultan received 8 nân-ı müdevver, 2 nân-ı pîç, 2 çörek, 2 semiz halka, 2 nân-ı pite, 2 nân-ı nohut, 2 nân-ı mirahûrî and 10 simid halka. As an institution, the Special Chamber received 20 nân-ı müdevver, 6 nân-ı pîç, 1 çörek, 1 nân-ı pite and 2 poğaça-i revganî32. The large amounts should not be seen as indication of gluttony in the palace residents. These were the amounts sent to their meals; for example the breads sent to the sultan’s table were also eaten by others who had the privilege of eating with him.

Table 2: Amounts and weights of baked goods sent daily to the sultan in September-October 1651
(Source: D. BŞM 10525, s. 20)

Type

amount
(pcs)

Weight per piece
(in dirhems)*

nân-ı müdevver

24

250

nân-ı pîç

14

225

semiz halka

5

230

simid halka

95

25

nân-ı pite

4

250

nân-ı mirâhurî

2

185

nân-ı nohut

22

100

nân-ı kirde

2

270

imâm ekmeği

1

550

poğaça-i pîç

2

225

nân-ı sükkerî

2

110

nân-ı müdevver**

1

270

nân-ı pite

5

275

* 400 dirhems equals 1 kıyye, or 1.2828 kilograms.
** Given to the kebab chef of the Has Kitchen.

Ingredients such as sesame, nigella, egg, mastic and anise were added to the bread and other baked goods produced in the palace ovens. It appears that nigella and sesame were provided more to the has oven, which served the upper-level residents and produced higher quality bread and other goods than the other ovens33.

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