Turkish Cuisine in 11th Century
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Turkish Cuisine in 11th Century

It appears that in addition to the above, the main desserts of the 11th century Turks were various sweets made of bread, or “sweet breads.” They were known by various names, including aşpöri, kuyma and kara ekmek. Aşpöri was a çörek cooked in coals as mentioned above; when it was done, it was filled with pieces of butter and sprinkled with sugar 48.Kuyma was a sort of oily bread. Its dough was cut very thin, like that for kadayıf, thrown into boiling oil, stirred, and after it was done, topped with sugar. The preparation of kara ekmek (lit. “black bread”) is quite different, in that in addition to flour, sugar and butter, it also contained meat. According to the recipe, “meat is cooked to shreds. It is then mixed with flour, butter and sugar, and boiled until done” 50. It appear that it received its name from the dark color given to it by the meat.

e) Alcoholic Drinks, Fruit Juices and Sherbets: In the 11th century, any and all drinks that could cause drunkenness were known, as they are today, as içgü (mod. Turkish içki51. It appears that the most-consumed alcoholic drink during the period was wine. The Turks called wine by various names such as sıiçik and çakır; the second of which is without a doubt the origin of the modern Turkish expression çakır keyif, meaning “tipsy, pleasantly drunk.” The Uygurs and Karahan Turks in particular called wine bor, and and others used the termkızıl sıiçik for red wine. However it appears that there was another kind of wine, made from some sort of dough, which was very popular, called ııgut 52. This wine was made by soaking a puree made of various plants and fruits, called deva. This was mixed with barley flour. The resulting dough was cut into hazelnut-size pieces and dried. Then wheat and barley was boiled into a batter, which was poured over the dried dough balls. This was then wrapped in a clean cloth and left for three days to ferment. It was then poured into an earthenware jar and left to ripen further for 10 days. After 10 days, water was added, after which it was strained. The resulting liquid was wheat wine. In addition, they made another type of wine from wheat, called agartgu. Unfortunately we know nothing of its preparation. Another alcoholic drink, made of grains such as wheat, millet and barley and called begin, was most likely a type of boza. Yet another drink made from barley, buhsıım, was reminiscent of beer52.

On the other hand, kumiss, the famous drink of the Turks, was in the 11th century at least as widespread as wine. It also appears that in the 11th century, a plant known as kumlak, with leaves resembling those of beans, was mixed with honey to obtain a sort of wine; though we have little information on its preparation.

As for fruits and fruit juices, the Turks of this period raised fruits such as grapes, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, quinces, mulberries and Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolia), and nuts such as hazelnuts and walnuts and ate them in large quantities. Yusuf Has Hacib informs us that they were eaten both fresh and dried, especially after meals. We also see that some fruits were dried for winter consumption, especially grapes, plums and apricots, as is true today. They called dried fruits kak or gak, a word that is still in use in various parts of Anatolia.

The 11th century Turks also used fruit juices in large quantity. In that period they used the word çakır 54 for süçik 54 for fruit juices and şira (fruit juices undergoing a non-alcoholic fermentation) as well as for wine. In addition to the fuka’, mizib, cülengbin and cülabmentioned by Yusuf Has Hacib for feasts, there were also fruit juices at the table, given with their Persian names, to be drunk both to cool the body as well as for pure enjoyment. These along with syrups and sherbets made from fruits, were kept in ice, and this cooling process was known as süçik üşitmek (lit. “chilling wine”) 56. It appears that grape juice and şira were the most drunk. We also see another fruit juice much used in the making of sherbet and syrups, called uhcık 57; this was obtained by the pressing of apricots. We also learn of another sour fruit juice, drunk to cool the body, called çifşeng çakır 58.

It emerges finally that the Turks called everything they drank or put into their food that was cold soğukluk (cooler) 59; this word is used today interchangeably with the word hoşaf (thin fruit compotes).

It appears that the Turks had used vinegar, which they added to food and especially totutmaç, since very ancient times. From Kaşgarlı’s description of mandıı as “a type of Turkish vinegar,” it appears that some of the vinegars they made were quite well known. We can also add a type of black pepper called murç, a variety of mustard known as kıcı and salt as other basic ingredients in 11th century cooking.

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