Turkish Cuisine
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Culinary Art in Ürünlü Village, Turkey

Daily consumption, catering visitors at collective work, festivities (child birth, weddings, national and religious days, Ramadan meals), mournings all require different menu and drink combinations and so do the sites of consumption. At home they eat seated on the floor closely knit to each other around a low, wooden table. In the village square they sit on chairs around long tables during wedding, Ramadan and religious day meals. At pastures and the river banks they dine on mats. At times of birth, before and after death, occasions of an illness, having a wound, pain and a curse, certain recipes are prepared mostly from herbs to  restore health. When a baby is suffering from flatus or tummy pain apple oil, pomegranate juice or oregano tea is given. Or juice of raw onion can be smeared under the child’s feet or navel area in such cases. Oregano oil is good for coughs while mixing it with olive oil is good for high fever. Honey and ginger mix heals colds. Halva made from egg-white and flour is an effective pain killer when applied on the back. Powdered henna kills microbes and cures eczema in feet and hands. Mixing honey with herbs pacifies rheumatism. There are also recipes for women who have difficulty in bearing children. Ill fate is another state of being unwell and must be avoided by taking certain precautions. This the belief that an unpleasant glance at a person, property or object may cause injury, loss or death. Children and animals are thought to be most vulnerable to an evil look (eye). Envy of beauty, happiness and prosperity are said to call for misfortune. Therefore, according to locals, sacred texts (Koran verses), charms (muska), amulets (blue beads, gold), plants (herbal) and grains (wheat, rice), old shoes, turtle shells on houses and fences are used for the protection of living thingsviii. All in all informants perceive food to be essential to survive but they also express that it makes  them  a  purposeful  community.  Although they share recipes  with  other settlements they claim certain flavors to be uniquely theirs which is a matter of identity for them. They consider catering guests a must and is a motivation to display Turkish hospitality.

Discussion: The Hasanoğlan village  studied by Prof. Dr. İbrahim Yasaix,x during his work as lecturer of sociology at the Higher Village Institute between 1942-46 is an anthropological study of the social organization of a central Anatolian village by Ankara. It was a higher teacher training school for peasant students graduating from Village Institute Middle Schools. This education project was initiated by Atatürk in 1932 and extended two many centers in Turkey between 1940 and 1954. It intended to preserve invaluable rural culture to avoid migration to cities by enlightening village children at home and teaching them skills to cope with the local and national economy. Yasa’s Hasanoğlan study has later been followed by Paul Stirling’sxi  “Turkish Village” based on his study of Elbaşı and Sakaltutan villages at Kayseri,  Nermin  Erdentuğ’s  Hal villagexii   and  Sün  villagexiii   studies  all  focus on  social organization and traditions while Ürünlü Culture Village Research Project concentrated on natural setting, geography and climate, local history, demography, settlement pattern and architecture, agriculture, bio-diversity, food production, traditional dishes, family, kinship and marriage carried out by scholars between 2005-2010. When we compare culinary art in Ürünlü with findings from Konya’s Neolithic site we see that there is continuity in food preparations and eating habits between the two sites.

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