Every country has special and unique dishes. Sometimes they prepare them carefully for their guests and sometimes just for a lovely family dinner. Turkish cuisine has really complicated and splendid food too because of Ottoman cuisine that affected our culture a lot. Also, Turkish foods have strange and funny names and they have different stories. Before I searched about this topic, I didn’t even know some of them so that’s what I’m going to write about.
IT’S a stuffed eggplant. We cook it in olive oil with onions, tomatoes and a little garlic. We may cook it for guests and for normal supper too. Also, I’ll give the main trick about Turkish food. Most of them contain gravy (usually a tomato or pepper one), onion and minced meat. These are the most important elements of any Turkish dishes. Now it’s time to write about their names. If I try to translate it directly, ‘imam’ means priest in a mosque or a kind of minister of Muslims and ‘bayıldı’ means ‘fainted’ in English. For a funny myth, one day an old minister came home and they were ready to eat. His wife cooked this meal for her husband with all her love just to make him happy. They ate it and he was super happy and delighted, but in these years people were poor and he was shocked about how they can eat it. Then, he learnt about how much was spent on this meal. It was too pricey and so he suddenly fainted from the cost and he died…Which is where the origins of the name comes from.
IT’S a different version of an eggplant dish. First, we make the eggplant puree. We place the eggplant on an open fire such as charcoal, barbecue, or a gas stove. Then cook it on high heat, turning occasionally until the skin of the eggplant is burnt and the flesh is very tender. After that scoop out all flesh and mash it. We serve it topped with the roasted lamb meat and scatter with parsley. People usually prepare it on holidays and special days in Turkey. The English version of the name is ‘Sultan’s Delight’. Sultan Abdulaziz organized a trip for French Empress and Napoleon’s wife when she came to Istanbul. During this trip, this food was prepared from the palace kitchen for the guest. According to rumors, French Empress Eugénie loved it so much that she took the recipe to France.
IT’S a fried dough dessert with sherbet (a mixture of sugar and hot water). It’s really easy to make, but it’s grandmother’s recipe. Shape of it is round and has a hole in the middle. Its name is connected with shape, it means ‘Lady Belly’ in English. Turkish people say this name because the shape of the desert is similar to ladies’ bellies. It’s kind of an inside joke. Well, guess why not the name of the food but the name of the sweet? Because ladies are sweet.
IT’S a similar dessert to the Hanım Göbeği. It’s a traditional dessert. This dessert comes from a meaningful and funny story. One day, a sultan went hunting with his vizier and accidentally the sultan’s thumb was cut. Vizier said something like ‘Every bad thing has a good reason for its happening.’ Another day, the Sultan met a weird cannibal tribe during the expedition. However, they were a tribe which did not eat people who have cuts on his/her body. Through the cuts, this Sultan’s life was saved. It’s not as sweet of a story but more like fiction. Withal ‘Vezir Parmağı’ means ‘Vizier’s Finger,’ but no one can understand why its name is not the finger of Sultan.
These were just a few foods. There’s more strange and delicious Turkish food but I just mentioned some of them. If you come to Turkey or Istanbul, I’m sure that Turkish people won’t let you leave without trying all of them.