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Introduction

Nutrition is the most basic need of all living things. For human societies nutrition, in addition to being a physical need, is also a behavior which reflects the level of cultural development and taste. Every people and every society has their own food culture and as an extension of this, a culinary culture. However some societies have taken the raw materials provided by nature and learned to process them to such an extent that they have taken their food cultures beyond the meeting of a need and imbued them with an esthetic value, and turned them into an artform.

Among the foremost examples are Turkish, French, Italian and Chinese cuisine. By Turkish cuisine, we are referring to the entire food culture of the Turks living on three continents (Asia, Europe and North Africa). As Turks have spread throughout the world, it has spread to America and Australia as well. In addition, in areas where Turkish culture thrives, it has long since entered many local cuisines as well.

The many-faceted nature of Turkish cuisine – that is, the vast geographical area over which it is spread, the many cultures with which it has blended, its relationships with local ecologies, and its position in political and social structures throughout history – is a subject that is only recently begun to be investigated.

Unfortunately, some nuances of this magnificent culinary art are on the verge of being lost. Within modern Turkey’s changing social structure culinary culture, just as with music, is undergoing obvious changes. To forget or ignore something, is to lose it. What we have forgotten or are about to forget is our basic values, which in their journey through time have blended with the knowledge of the millennia to take their present-day form.

This portal is the product of a special project which addresses many different aspects of Turkish culinary culture, including its basic features, history, social structure, beliefs, ingredients, its place and function, and recipes. Although it is not possible to address every aspect of a vast cultural treasure such as Turkish cuisine in a single website, it is certainly possible to provide a basic outline. We sincerely thank all the experts in their various fields who contributed to the effort, and are grateful to the Turkish world which has passed this culture on to us.

These are among our basic values, which we have forgotten or are on the verge of forgetting, and which should blend with the knowledge of the centuries and survive to the present day. Only as we take responsibility for this treasure can we go on to reach new heights.

 
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