GRAINS: BREAD TO BOREK
The foundation of Turkish food is, if anything, dough made of wheat flour. Besides "ekmek" (ordinary white bread), "Pide" (flat bread), "simit" (sesame seed rings),and "mantı" (similar to ravioli), a whole fami,ly of food made up thin sheets of pastry called "börek" falls into this category. The bakers of the Ottoman period believed that after his expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam, the Patron Saint of Bakers, learned how to make bread from the Archangel Gabriel. Obviously, the secret is still held dear by present-day Turkish bekers. No other bread tastes like everyday Turkish bread. One realizes the wonderful luxery of Turkish bread only upon leaving the county. This glorious food is enjoyed in large quantities and is loved by all, rich and poor, simpleand sophisticated. Every neighborhood has a bread bakery that produces the golden, crisp loaves twice a day, morning and afternoon, filling the streets with their irresistible and wholesome aroma. People pick up a few loaves on their way home from work, and end up eating the crisp ends by the time they get there. After a hard day's work, holding the warm loaf is the best reward, convincing one that all is well. Ekmek, pide and simit are meant to be eaten the same day they are baked, as they usually are. The leftover ekmek goes into a variety of dishes, becomes chicken feed, or is mixed with milk for the neighborhood cats. Manti, small dumplings of dough filled with a special meat mix, are eatenwith generous servings of garlic yogurt and a dash of melted butter with paprika.
This is a meal in itself as a Sunday lunch affair for the whole family, to be followed by an afternoon nap. Börek is a dish for special occasions and requires great skill and patience, unless you have thin sheets of dough already rolled out bought from your corner grocery store. Anyone who can accomplish this delicate task using the rolling pin, becomes the most sought-out person in their circle of family and friends. The sheets are then layered or folded into various shapes before being filled with cheese or meat mixes and baked or fried. Every household enjoys at least five different varieties of börek as a regular part of its menu. Along with bread, "pilav" is another staple of the Turkish kitchen. The most common versions are the cracked-wheat pilaf made with whole onions, sliced tomatoes, green peppers sauted in butter, and boiled in beef stock is a meal in itself. Many versions of the rice pilaf accompany vegetable and meat dishes. The distinguishing feature of the Turkish pilaf is the soft buttery morsels of rice which readily roll of your spoon, rather than sticking together in a mushy clump. An Introduction to Turkish Cuisine Kithchen Of The Imperial Palace A Repertoire Of Food From The Great Food Places Grains: Bread To Borek Grilled Meats Four Season Vegetables "MEZE" Dishes To Accompany The Spirits SEAFOOD The Real Story Of Sweets: Beyond BAKLAVA BEVERAGES: Beyond The TURKISH COFFEE And "AYRAN" Protocol For The Culturally Correct Food And Spirituality Contemporary Concerns: DIET AND HEALTH