Turkish Cuisine
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Culinary Art in Ürünlü Village, Turkey

Food, Health and Well being

Begümşen Ergenekon

Introduction: Ürünlü was selected as the sight of a “culture village” for investigation to prepare a   regional plan, between 2005-2010. Its traditions and life style, culinary art, Altınbeşik Cave National Park, cedar forests, pastures, Manavgat River, Üzümdere Canyon, rich flora and fauna were the properties behind this choice. This interdisciplinary study aimed at documenting folk wisdom in adapting to nature and sustaining a self-sufficient peasant economyi so that local agriculture and stock breeding traditions could be maintained. This is a tradition, rediscovered as “permaculture” nowadays. Its findings date back respectively to 60.000 (Karain Cave, Antalya) and 12.000 (Hacılar, Kayseri) and 8.000 (Çatalhöyük, Konya) years in Türkiye. Ürünlü’s culinary art is, thus, one of those aspects of the village culture studied through social anthropological field work by the author in summer 2010 and spring 2011. Methods used were participant observation of food processing, experimental cooking and food tasting; in-depth-interviewing and photographing. Twenty four (9 Men, 15 Women) inhabitants were randomly selected and interviewed according to data saturation (Morse,1998:733)ii. They were between 35 and 80 years of age. Fourteen of the informants were locals while 10 were emigrants that came back from Bursa, Antalya, Istanbul and Germany. The main questions addressed in this case study are; given the geography, climate and food sources which dishes locals prepared for daily use, festive occasions and good health. Qualitative analysis is used in data processing, results of which only represent the case of Ürünlü Village studied. Harrisiii  claims that social life is a reaction to meet human energy requirements needed  to  produce  and reproduce  by transforming food  into  culturally acceptable meals and is very much so.

Results: Ürünlü (Unulla), today, is situated between Çatalhöyük and the Mediterranean coast 200 and 70 km away from each respectively. The village is neatly tugged away between sharply sloping canyons and rising hills and peaks that display a combination of Konya plateau’s cold, dry continental and Manavgat Valley’s hot and  humid  Mediterranean  climatesiv.  It  hosts  the  Altınbeşik (golden  cradle)  Cave which empties Beyşehir Lake’s water into the sea through Manavgat river. Its environs are reserved as a national park hosting many endemic plants, flowers and wildlife. The carstic character of geology and rainfall have formed the red Mediterranean soil, terra rosav. Ancestral villagers have chosen a settlement optimally benefitting from solar, wind, water and fire energies according to Göksu, favorable to produce plenty of food. According to Dayarvi demographically there was a steady fall in population between 1921 (581 people, 124 households) to 2007 winter with 224 people in 55 households. Economically Ürünlü locals were not solely farmers but had other skills like iron-smith, weaving, tailoring, silk production, handcrafting, manufacturing and trade (ancient silk road passed through Eynif valley only 7 km. away). (It was with these skills that they could get jobs in the cities they emigrated). Stockbreeding, agricultural activity and vine cultivation recessed after 1960s.

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