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Old 28th December 2008, 07:42   #1 (permalink)
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New Year Specialities

Does anyone know if there are any specials foods that are traditionally eaten at New Year here in Turkey? if so, would imagine that these will vary from region to region?

Curious to know if I can be looking forward to any culinary delights this week!
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Old 29th December 2008, 23:42   #2 (permalink)
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Re: New Year Specialities

These are some dishes my mum would typically cook/prepare for a New Year's Eve Dinner in Turkey:

Rus Salatasi (salad with home-made mayo, olive oil, potatoes, carrots, peas, pickled cucumbers, etc)
Cerkez Tavugu (Circassian Chicken salad with ground walnuts, garlic, paprika, olive oil - really yummy!)
Yogurtlu Patlican Salatasi (charred aubergine salad in garlic yoghurt)
Kadinbudu kofte ("ladies thighs" meatballs - see another recent thread)
Kofte (fried meatballs)
Sebzeli Dana bonfile (Escalope of veal with vegetables) or some fish dish from the oven
Sigara boregi (filo pastry cigar-shaped wraps full of creamy cheese & parsley or minced beef with onions)
Zeytinyagli dolma (risotto with pine kernels and currants wrapped in vine leaves - another olive oil dish)
Zeytinyagli taze fasulye (green beans in olive oil)
Patlican ve biber kizartmasi (fried aubergine & pepper slices served with garlic yoghurt)
Gullac tatlisi (please look up Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - really yummy pudding!)
Beyaz peynir (white cheese)
Kavun (melon)
Arnavut cigeri (fried liver served with chopped onions & parsley)


Now you won't probably believe me but she actually used to prepare almost as many courses as listed above for this special night's dinner. We would entertain some family friends and spend hours on the table eating and drinking raki, beer or wine. Us kids on unlimited coke or gazoz, of course.

As we grew up and mum got older we started going out to hotels or restaurants with friends but memories of New Year's Eve dinner parties at home will stay with me forever. And the slightest mention of them with a twist of melodramatic yearning on my part would be more than enough to drive my English Rose into a rage of jealousy... Not many things wind her up better than that.

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Old 30th December 2008, 12:48   #3 (permalink)
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Re: New Year Specialities

That's some menu! Thanks for taking the time to share that. Sounds like your mum was a very busy lady and a good cook.

Will look up Gullac tatlisi.
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Old 30th December 2008, 21:59   #4 (permalink)
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Re: New Year Specialities

The main reason for the rich menu is the meze culture that is prevalent over there as in many other Mediterranean cultures. The salads and all the olive oil dishes, also the fried aubergines, are eaten cold and form part of the meze. The table would contain relatively small amounts of a large variety of hot and cold mezes and these would be consumed as either side dishes or starters over a length of time, accompanied by plenty of drinks, especially raki. The Turkish dining culture is a very social experience whereby the Turks would sit around the table for hours talking about everything from football to politics or the opposite sex, the content and quality depending on the company and the setting. Jokes would be told and singing would be expected at some stage. My dad would occasionally recite a poem - he was a bit of a poet and public speaker in his younger days. Dancing is also a possibility but during all this time the dinner table remains the hub of interaction and this is where also the dancers would return panting and puffing. It would be rude and inappropriate to start clearing the table early. On the New Years Eve, if the dinner party is at a domestic residence, some diners would also keep an eye on the TV set as the TV channels broadcast several entertainment programs and music but the highlight for the men is usually the bellydancers who start coming on the screen at or around midnight. This is when my dad would start cleaning his spectacles for a clearer vision and meet the protests of my mum who might give him a soft slap on the head. Some people may also be interested in the special lottery draw broadcast live, which again receives a fair amount of attention. Once people realise luck has not come within even a million kilometers of their meagre presence in life, yet again, it is common to hear a few swear words after which the drink glasses would be tossed again saying never mind, maybe next year! After the countdown to midnight, there is the usual celebratory kisses and hugs between friends and family. At this stage many people would have eaten and drunk simply too much but they may still decide to play a bit of bingo (tombala) to top the night up. The whole affair may carry on till 2 to 3 am in the morning or later.

I am sure many of you are already familiar with this culture but I just wanted to explain it for the newcomers into the Turkish way of life.
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Old 30th December 2008, 23:21   #5 (permalink)
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Re: New Year Specialities

Thanks for sharing that, its lovely to have traditions.
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