During the last few posts we were mostly concentrating on Italian and generally European traditions and dishes. This time I would like to talk about something we are gradually discovering and, of course, appreciating: the Turkish cuisine. Turkish cuisine is renowned as one of the three most important in the world due to the variety of its recipes and the wide range of ingredients that make it appreciable for almost all palates. The roots of the traditional Turkish cuisine, as well as Turkish language, has been mixed during thousands of years of interaction between the local people with Mediterranean merchants, travelers and both closer and further neighborhood populations. All of those influences have lead to the creation of an outstanding mixture of flavors where there is not a predominant element (like pasta for Italians for example).
We can look at the Turkish cuisine like a bridge between far-Eastern and Mediterranean culinary traditions, a meditated elaboration of all the ingredients in order to preserve and enhance their taste and flavor. The whole culinary science behind each recipe is not only the result of the combination of different cultures, but also a deep study and a continuous development of new and better variants. The court of the Ottoman sultan is historically known as the centre of expertise about food, beverages, sweets and spirits. They boast one of the biggest kitchens in history. It was so big that it was housed in several buildings and with a staff of over 1300 people (specialized in different categories of food such as soups, pilafs, kebabs, vegetables, fish, breads, pastries, candy and helva, syrups and jams, and beverage) were able to feed approximately ten thousand people a day.
The most famous and the most diverse recipe of the Turkish tradition is probably the kebab, which comes in many different variations depending on the kind of meat used, the kind of cook and how it is served. In English, when we think about the kebab we usually think more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer or doner, however kebab refers to meat that is cooked over or next to flames; large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. Originally the meat used for kebab was only lamb, now it can be found in many different variations like chicken, beef and even fish and vegetarian.
At the moment this is all I know about Turkish cuisine, what is more important is that we have planned to discover more during the next few days and of course I will be back soon to tell you more about this experience…in the meantime if you have any suggestions about what to try and where, we would be more than happy to hear them!