A wonderful way to understand and appreciate a culture is by getting to know the way food is prepared and served. Great civilizations create grand cuisines where every dish is a reflection of how a people and a place (a nation and its country) spawn and sustain their togetherness in the act of enjoying a meal.
“Do not underestimate the dish by calling it just food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself!” said Abdülhak Şinasi Hisar, a Turkish Novelist.
For those who travel to engage in culinary pursuits and for the ordinary tourist, the Turkish Cuisine is worthy of exploration. The variety of dishes that make up the cuisine, the ways they all come together in feast-like meals, and the evident intricacy of the craft offer enough material for life-long study and enjoyment. It is not easy to discern a basic element or a single dominant feature, like the Italian pasta or the French sauce. Whether in a humble home, at a famous restaurant, or at dinner in a Bey’s mansion, familiar patterns of this rich and diverse cuisine are always present. It is a rare art which satisfies the senses while reconfirming the higher order of society, community and culture.
What makes Turkish Cuisine glorious?
Turkish cuisine has the privilege of being at the crossroads of the Near East and the Mediterranean, resulting in a long and complex history of Turkish migration from the steppes of Central Asia (where they mingled with the Chinese) to Europe (where their influence was felt all the way to Vienna).
Such unique characteristics and extensive history have bestowed upon Turkish cuisine a rich selection of dishes all of which can be prepared and combined with others to create meals of almost infinite variety, but always in a non-arbitrary way. This led to a cuisine that is open to improvisation through development of regional styles, while retaining its deep structure, as all great works of art do.
Anyone who visits Turkey or has a meal in a Turkish home, regardless of the success of the particular cook, is sure to notice the uniqueness of the cuisine.
A survey of the types of dishes according to their ingredients may be helpful to explain the basic structure of Turkish cuisine. All dishes can be conveniently categorized into grain-based, grilled meats, vegetables, seafood, desserts and beverages. For Turkish people, the setting is as important as the food itself. Therefore, food-related places need to be considered, as well as the dining protocol.
Adapted from Turkey.Home