Ottoman cuisine

The Ottoman cuisine Part I

As the Turkish tribes advanced from Central Asia to historic Anatolia, they not only brought their own culture from there, but also enriched the already diverse culture in Anatolia with experiences and things that they had gathered during their migration. The fact that the cooking culture was not ignored is obvious.

The motto “feed the hungry, dress the naked, rebuild the destroyed and increase the people” had made the trunks a golden rule when they left for their great journey.

Even years later, when Ottoman culture had long since established itself in Anatolia and Rumelia, the influences of that early period were still felt, and their cooking and eating habits were an important component of Ottoman culinary art is a fact. There had been many impetus to develop this rich cultural heritage in the new homeland and to encourage the Turkish tribes to extraordinary creativity. The most important thing was that the land in which they had settled was surrounded on three sides by the seas, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean Sea. These three seas, with their abundance of fish and fertile climates, were ready for the Turks. Two straits, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, connected Anatolia and Rumelia with the Marmara Sea. Both Anatolia and the Marmara area were characterized by great fertility, which made it possible to grow any kind of fruits, vegetables or cereals in any region depending on the climate.

For this reason, one should examine the Ottoman cuisine in view of the rich cultural history and the geographic and climatic situation caused variety of agricultural products, as well as productive oceans and lakes. These favorable conditions have made Ottoman cuisine one of the three most diverse cuisines in the world.

Of course, this eating and cooking culture has largely changed in our modern age due to changing living conditions. The possibility of a permanent, traditional cooking culture is decreasing from day to day, because nowadays only a few people have the pleasure of sharing meals with their families at a set table. The change in eating habits caused by work means that hot meals are slowly being replaced by snacks such as sandwiches and fast food. Invitations are better in the restaurant than at home. Modern medicine now recommends light, vitamin-rich foods instead of the traditional greasy, rich dishes and dough dishes. The people have problems with their overweight and prefer mostly a diet kitchen.

In this way, a new cooking culture has developed, which has very little in common with the old. Examining the traditional cuisine, however, you will find that it also contains many recipes that do not harm people in terms of health. Likewise, one followed some rules and regulations, which also had a reasonable nutrition of the people in mind. If we already talk about the Ottoman cuisine here, then right from the beginning a guiding principle from the Ottoman period should be asked, which was not so easy to keep in view of the rich dishes, drinks, sweets and pastries of the time:

“Whoever eats little, becomes powerful, who eats a lot, perishes.”

So, enjoy with care! We find similar exhortations also on tablets, which were skilfully painted on writing tablets by calliographers and found their place on the walls of the dining room:

“Whoever eats little can eat every day, who eats a lot, eats only one day.” And: “The mouth eats, but the face is ashamed.”

That too much food harms the health, becomes clear in the following statement: “What did not he eat all this tooth, what not all.”

Source: Ministry of Culture Turkey