Although the Turks are considered to be of Central Asian descent, it is clear that by the 9th century, living in western Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Anatolia, they could no longer be considered only an Asian people. It is aso certain that they lived in close relations with the local peoples of these regions. Forming an empire within a short time, they blended their administrative and cultural relations and came into cultural interaction with many different cultures. In addition to the neighboring culinary traditions we have addressed, it seems appropriate also to examine here the original cuisines of the Turkic societies that have lived in and among these peoples. These culinary cultures, which we have dubbed “Sister Cuisines,” reflect the taste of the Turkic peoples over a broad geographical region. In what forms have the eating habits of these peoples with their many different names developed? In what directions have these peoples’ tastes developed? In addition to environmental factors, what has been the effect of their identity on their culinary cultures? In this section, we believe we may find at least a partial answer to some of these questions.
Climate and geography, as the greatest elements influencing culinary culture, holds an important place in man’s eating habits and needs. However alongside this, a people’s tastes are formed by the entire range of their cultural values as well. In this section we will examine the culinary cultures of the Turkmen, Tatars, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks and other peoples over an area ranging from Central Asia to the Caucasus, the Balkans and the shores of the Aegean Sea.