Devices and ingredients

Equipment and ingredients for the preparation of drinks and food. Places for their production, storage and consumption.

Previously, a stove, an oven or a so-called “Tandir”, a built-in baking device made of clay was used. Heating material was wood. The pots and pans were made of clay, bronze, copper and iron. Nowadays you cook on earth or butane gas or use electricity as an energy source. Modern stoves and ovens have taken the place of old cooking stoves. The shape of an open hearth, a forerunner of today’s fireplace, was also very popular in earlier times. Within this hearth was a grate, tripod or clay fixture, whereupon the pots and pans could be placed during the cooking process. Under this device burned the wood fire.

The in-ground baking device “Tandir” was made of clay, which had a large opening to the ground level. The wood fire burned on the bottom of this clay-lined pit. As soon as the fire stopped smoking and only the embers were present, the pot with the food was sunk into the meanwhile heated pit and sealed its opening airtight with a lid. By sticking bread dough to the walls of tandir, bread was made. Another Tandir form was also open to one side. In this pates and breads were usually baked by the open side after the heating process with a flap closed.

“Kuzine” was the name of an ancient combination of baking and cooking, a forerunner of today’s baking oven. This device was heated with wood, the smoke pulled through a stovepipe to the outside. In the closed part could be baked, cooked on the stove. Since these flocks were also good and economic heat donors, they enjoyed long time great popularity.

Pots, pans and oven trays

Sealed clay pots are called “Güveç” in Turkish and are barely used after the entry of enamel and chrome pots into the Turkish kitchen. Tinned copper pots and pans, on the other hand, are still used in many households. Also cooking utensils made of teflon you cook recently like.

“Saç” are called arched sheets of black iron. You can use both the inside and the outside. On the outside, over the open fire, “Yufka” or stuffed dumplings “Börek” are usually made. Other specialties are meat and cheese in the dough “Etli Ekmek”, “Gözleme”, as well as flatbread “Pide” and pies “Katmer”. If you turn the sheet around, you can also roast meat on the inside over the open fire, “Saç Kebabi”. Cooking and ladle made of wood or metal (tinned copper or stainless steel) are used to stir and topple the food, from the pot to the sideboards and from there to the dinner plates. The meat board is made of solid dry wood. Here, meat is chopped or tapped, using knives of various sizes and the meat mallet. The latter is used especially in the preparation of chops, fried and minced steaks. To crush walnuts, sesame or garlic, you usually use a mortar. Hazelnuts are ground in a hand mill. Here too, however, electrical appliances such as mixers and other shredders have prevailed in recent years.

Dishes for serving food

Nowadays, bowls and plates made of porcelain, glass and stainless steel have supplanted the former tinned copper serving dish. Since many dishes of the Turkish cuisine are prepared with plenty of liquid, the spoon is the most important eating tool. Knife and fork are also used in almost all households. In the countryside, there is still a partial tradition that all family members eat out of a bowl. Meals are then transferred to large tinned copper bowls and bowls placed in the center of the table, which in turn sits on a short, collapsible foot directly on the ground. In front of each person sitting cross-legged around the table, there is an eating utensil consisting of knife, fork and spoon. Hereby, everyone makes use of the “Sini”, the general pan, whose edges are 30-40 cm high. You start with a soup that can follow a meat dish, then vegetables, rice and a pastry pie. Sweets form the conclusion. A cloth made of hand-woven fabric is served around the table and fulfills the function of a napkin. Washing your hands before and after your meal is common. Urban households are dominated by a modern food culture where everyone eats their own plate.

Food storage is provided by wooden chests and boxes, sealed clay pitchers, cloth bags, preserving jars, bottles, and plastic cans and jars. Fresh and dried fruit and vegetables are carried and stored in various large baskets of wicker or straw wicker. Large metal trays are often used instead of a tabletop.

The kitchen

“Mutfak” is the most common expression for the kitchen, which is also called “Ocaklik”, “Asevi”, “Asdami” or “Ocak”. Some dishes, as well as bread and pastries, which require a longer cooking time and greater heat input than the normal stove can offer, are sometimes prepared outside or in a particular angle of the kitchen. Therefore one does not speak then of the kitchen as a preparation place, but e.g. from the “Tandir” etc.

The Turkish kitchen is not only intended as a space for cooking food; sometimes people eat and sleep here and the cooking preparation process is limited to just one corner of the room.

In a city household, however, the kitchen is a self-contained unit. If the room is big enough, the family will take their meals there, but if they come for a visit, or if the family is too big, the table will be set up in a designated corner in the visitor’s salon. Despite this widespread new table and dining arrangement, the traditional table, placed near the floor on a large tray, can still be found in many urban households.

Source: Ministry of Culture Turkey