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The Gastronomy of Modern Turkish Food Culture

Dishes From Turkey: The Evolution of Turkish Cuisine - Part 7

The gastronomy of modern Turkish food culture. One of the most striking aspects of modern Turkish dishes is how diverse they are.  The varieties of foods, herbs, spices, and dishes are staggering.  Turkish food culture is one of the most diverse in the world.  Turkish dishes vary among regions, because of the various climates and diverse geography.  Each of the regions has its own characteristics and cultures. Mediterranean, Aegean, Marmara, Black Sea, Southeastern Anatolia, and Eastern Anatolia all have their own versions of Turkish food culture.

An example of this would be how the Turkish food culture of the Black Sea region, over twenty dishes are made from corn.  There are even more dishes in that region that feature anchovies. They are prepared fried, stuffed, and there is even an anchovy bread.

Mediterranean Dishes from Turkey

Like most of the other Mediterranean countries, parts of Turkey that are in the Mediterranean heavily feature olives and olive-oil based dishes.  The Aegean part of Turkish dishes relies on 2,500 years of history of olive cultivation.  There is also an amazing variety of herbs that feature in the diet of that region.

Turkish food culture, in different areas, are often quite different.  Turkish spices in the area of Izmir, include such exotic herbs as samphire, tangle, asparagus, Helvajik, dandelion, blessed thistle, plantain, Kushto of, poppy, chicory, thistle, radish sprouts, parsley, arugula, nettle, hibiscus, and many more. If you haven’t heard of some of these, don’t worry, neither have most of the rest of the world.  Do you think including a little of the Turkish dishes in your diet may spice up your meals with some variety?  I know I do.

As if this wasn’t enough, there are countless edible herbs that play an important in local economies and have a significant cultural value.  Scientists in the field of nutrition have yet to even determine the nutritional value of these many wild herbs.

Turkish dishes, like many Mediterranean food cultures, are extremely rich in grains, often wheat, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, dairy, seafood, and abundant spices. In the Mediterranean, Marmara, and Aegean regions of Turkey, vegetable-based foods are usually eaten cold.  Salads of raw or cooked vegetables are usually flavored with lemon, vinegar, and olive oil.  There is a delicious salad called Shepard salad, which is made with onions, peppers, beans, and tomatoes, which is served with the main dish aside.  Another salad consists of lettuce and simple local greens.  Haricot bean salad is another delicious salad that should not be missed.  Bulgar salad, made out of bulgar wheat with walnuts and vegetables, is a local delicacy.  Aegean Turkish dishes often include artichokes, beans of all types, and eggplants.

As you can see, there is an enormous variety within what is called Turkish cuisine, that few other countries can match.

Customs of the Turkish Food Culture

Since the founding of the modern Turkish state, called the Republican era, people wash their hands before sitting at the table.  It would be common for the father to announce the beginning of the meal by announcing “bismillah”

Then the father would begin the actual eating saying either “enjoy” or “scar”.  It is totally inconceivable to think of a Turkish dining table without some form of soup.   Soup is eaten with any type of meal in Turkish dishes and is almost always served hot at the beginning of the meal.

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