Historical Sources on Turkish Cuisine
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Historical Sources on Turkish Cuisine

We believe that a good search of the libraries of Turkey and other countries which were part of the Ottoman Empire will produce several hand-written cookbooks.

Other Sourceworks

The letters and collected accounts of foreigners who visited the Ottoman empire are also full of historical information and impressions which shed light on Turkish cooking.

As the vast majority of these works contain the impressions of those who stayed a short time in the Empire, and most of the writers were of differing cultures and religions, they are of a subjective nature. It must be noted that in among the rather absolute and biased statements of some foreign writers is some correct information. I believe that another paper to be presented in this symposium will address this issue in more detail.

Records on Turkish Cooking in the Archive of the Prime Ministry

As we touched on earlier, the information on Turkish cooking in our archives is scattered, and is waiting to be researched.

The present state of the Archive, the collections it contains and its mode of operation are all explained in detail in Mr. Mithat Sertoğlu’s “Muhteva Bakımından Başvekâlet Arşivi” (The Archive of the Prime Ministry from the Standpoint of Content) and archivist Atilla Çetin’s “Başbakanlık Arşivi’nde Uygulanan Tasnif Sistemi ve Kullanılan Kotlar” (The Classification System Practiced and Codes Used in the Archive of the Prime Ministry).

Places Besides the Archive of the Prime Ministry Which Contain Archival Material Relating to Turkish Cooking

1. The General Administration of Pious Foundations, Ankara,
2. The Şer’i Mahkeme (Islamic Court) Registers, housed in various museums under the General Administration of Antiquities and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism,
3. The Topkapı Palace Archive, Istanbul,
4. The documents of the abolished Health Administration (Sıhhat Nezareti), Istanbul, and
5. Military archives (The archives of the Navy in Kasımpaşa, and the abolished Harbiye and Tophane Administrations in Sultanahmet).


(1) Abdullah UYSAL: Zanaatkârlar Kanunu (Kanun-nâme-i Ehl-i Hıref) Ministry of Culture and Tourism Publications, No. 498, 100 Temel Eser series: 85 Ankara 1982

(2) a) Prof. Dr. Yaşar YÜCEL: Direct Copy of the 1640 Es’âr Defteri, A. Ü. DTCF Publications No: 313 Ankara – 1982. 
b) Prof. Dr. Yaşar YÜCEL 1640 Es’âr Defteri, “Transliteration into the Turkish Alphabet and Evaluation,” A. Ü. DTCF Publications, No: 316, Ankara – 1982

(3) Prof. Ömer Lütfi BARKAN, “Şehirlerin Teşekkül ve İnkişafı Tarihi Bakımından Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda İmâret Sitelerinin Kuruluş ve İşleyiş Tarzına Alt Araştırmalar”, Magazine of the İstanbul University Department of Economics, Vol. 23, No: 1- 2, Istanbul - 1963, 239- 296 S.

(4) A.g.e. 276 S.

(5) Yavuz CEZAR : “Bir Âyanın Muhallefatı” Bulletin C. XLI, Sayı: 161, Ankara – 1977

(6) Prof. Ömer Lütfi Bilançosu,  Magazine of the İstanbul University Department of Economics, Vol. 23, 
No 1- 2, istanbul - 1963, 380- 398 8.

(7) Midhat SERTOĞLU: “The Archive of the Prime Ministry from the Standpoint of Content,” A. Ü. DTCF Publications: 103, Ankara - 1955

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