Results tagged “safranbolu”

It's sweet in Turkey

Smplatelokum0001.JPGDrinking tea all day has contributed towards to the sweet tooth I seem to have developed in Turkey, as the little glass is always served with two sugar lumps on the side.  (Except in the Southeast, where you usually get three - Southeasterners liking their foods generally spicier, sweeter and tangier than their equivalents in the rest of the country.)  Sugar is found in large doses in many of the Turks’ favourite foods...

Turkey I: Bulgaria to Georgia (nearly)

Smsimitbaker0001.JPGGiven just how big Turkey is, we originally thought we'd be sensible and really not try to cover the whole country.  Obviously we'd go to Istanbul, we should probably see some of the archaeology on the Aegean coast, and we'd probably have time in between to see a bit of the middle, maybe visit Cappadocia if we were feeling adventurous.

But as soon as we started talking to people in Istanbul about what was out there - from the perspective of food and culture as well as good old tourism - we realised we really had to do a lot more than that.  It took longer than we'd planned (sorry Greece, sorry Slovenia) - but it was definitely worth it.

This is the story of the first half - from crossing in over the hills on the Bulgarian border, to getting to our easternmost point in Erzurum (about 150 miles from Iran).  Read all about it - there's mosques!  Aubergines!  Preserved yoghurt!  Getting stopped by police!  Getting massaged by blacksmiths!  And lots lots more ...

Doing a twirl in the harem

Smottomancupboard0001.JPGToday Barnaby explored an old Ottoman mansion in Safranbolu.  He was very interested in the strict divide between the public selamlık and private haremlik sides of the house. 

He learnt that this was due to the culture of women having to stay at home and out of sight of men outside their family (which he has noticed still persists today in some particularly conservative parts of Turkey). 

This meant that when male visitors came to the house, they were entertained by the family's menfolk in the public selamlık, while the womenfolk stayed hidden behind closed doors in the domestic haremlik.

However, this system had one potentially disastrous flaw:  Turkish men not generally being renowned for their domestic flair in the kitchen department, all the cooking happened on the harem side of the house, leaving the men and their guests in danger of growing hungry.  How could the food cross the border without people seeing each other?

The ingenious solution was this rotating cupboard.  Food was placed inside from the harem side, spun round and collected by the men on the other side, without the women having to expose an inch of themselves to the guests. 

Curious as to which side he would feel most comfortable on, Barnaby spent the day spinning between them both.  Click here (or the picture) to open the cupboard and watch him twirl.


Culinary Anthropologist