I have already mentioned above that according to Dr. Halıcı the region has a richer herb culture than the Aegean region. Study of the attached list of dishes will immediately reveal how rich the vegetable and fungi dishes are both from the aspect of ingredients and cooking methods. Especially mancar (kara lahana) (cole) and ıspıt (borage) as well as numerous herbs (ısırgan (nettle), pazı (chard), semizotu (purslane), ebegümeci (mallow), hindiba (endive), dil buran, kazayak (low goosefoot), gelincik (poppy), çoban ekmeği, karakavruk, madımak, teke sakalı, yemlik, toklamaç, labada), fungi (ayı köşk, cincile, göbelek, içi kızıl, kanlıca, karakulak, kayışkan, meşe, mıh tepesi, sarıgül, tellice, kara göçen, kabak, koç, saçak, bağrı kışlı, cücüle, çivi başı, geyik, halı saçağı, karaağaç) and vegetables are used in the region’s cuisine. In their simplest form, these ingredients are cooked with various grains and both their taste and nutritional values are balanced. In an exaggerated way of saying, they leave unforgettable flavors in our mouths. This dish was prepared at the Traditional Flavors Festival and offered to the guests. Following the presentation, it was the one whose recipe was most often asked39.
I would like to share one of my anecdote like memories here. During our work in Yenice we discovered a vegan cuisine and started to work in collaboration with the county governor of the time in order to use this within the context of tourism. The idea to introduce this cuisine to the editor of Food & Travel Magazine came up at this point. The menu was prepared but we learned that the municipal board that met did not want to introduce Yenice with these herbal dishes and had prepared meat dishes. As a result of the county governor’s insistence, the meat dishes were withdrawn and the guests were offered the vegan dishes we gathered from the homes and were met with great interest.
During the Yenice local cuisine research, we discovered a unique dessert: Sultani Bakla Tatlısı. This dessert is prepared like the fava that we all know but with sugar. It was interesting to see that the region that is poor from the view point of meat and grains (they grow corn now) uses bakla (broad beans) for a dessert.
The region is very rich in fungi. Especially in the fall people go to pick mushrooms in groups. Those who don’t have the time buy the mushrooms that are almost as expensive as meat at the market with their limited budget.
Palamut Dolma (Stuffed Bonito)
Palamut Dolma is probably the most interesting dish under the influence of Hellen culture in the region. We come across this dish in Sinop. It is a more striking version of the stuffed mackerel that is almost forgotten even in Istanbul nowadays. The “iç pilavlı anchovy” that I regard as a simpler version of this dish must also be noted. In his book 500 Yıllık Osmanlı Mutfağı, M. Yerasimos dates the first stuffed mackerel to the 19th century. This should be interpreted as Turks accepting sea food in their cuisine late rather than the dish being prepared recently.
A Singularity: İncir (Fig) Uyutması
I came across an interesting dessert during my research. This fruity dessert called İncir Uyutması is prepared in Bartın and Karabük. Fig dessert and stuffed figs as dessert are found in many areas of Turkey but incir uyutması was a totally different sweet. During my internet search I came across the same sweet dessert in Düzce. In some internet pages it was referred to as “göçmen tatlısı” (immigrant’s sweet). A technique similar to the teleme (curd cheese) technique is used in its preparation. Crushed dried figs are added to lukewarm milk and the mixture is left to ferment just like yoghurt and cheese. If the mixture and process are successful you get a rather delicious fruity yoghurt dessert. This dessert is not done anywhere in the Aegean region known to be a fig producing area. Although I cannot trace its origins exactly, I define it within the Paphlagonian cuisine. It may have been first made by a bride who married and settled in the area.
I have already mentioned that Paphlagonia was a world of its own disconnected from Anatolia due to its geographical properties. As you will realize from the presentation, its cuisine that is still preserving its original values is not only offering flavors but also presenting the culinary cultures and story of humanity through the ages.
39 For the recipe - http://GuleviSafranbolu.wordpress.com
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