Materials for Cooking
In former times, woodburning stoves, tandir (ovens consisting of a clay-lined pit or a large, earthen jar buried in the ground) and kuzine (small, iron, woodburning cooking stoves) were used, and the food was cooked in frying pans and pots made of iron or bronze. Today, however, these have been replaced by stoves that work with electricity or gas. Open stoves are the primitive forms of the fireplaces we use today. Pans are put on tripods and the food cooked over a wood fire.
The tandir is like an earthenware well. Wood is burnt inside it and when the smoke dies down, the meat or the food inside the earthenware pan is suspended inside the well. Bread can also be cooked in tandir by putting dough in the pans.
In another type of tandir, one side is closed while the other three are left open. There is a lid on the open side. This type is generally used in cooking bread and pastry.
The kuzine is a simple kind of stove using wood fire. The smoke from the wood or coal is transferred to the chimney with the help of a pipe. It is a closed system which can also be used in heating. Thus, it is more energy-efficient than open stoves and tandir.
Pans, Pots and Baking Tins
The güveç is an earthenware pan which is rarely used. Nowadays, rustproof steel and enameled pans are preferred. On the other hand, tin covered copper pots and frying pans are still used. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of teflon-coated pans.
The saç is a wide, shallow instrument made of iron. It is generally used on open stoves to cook bread. It is also used to cook thin pastry, bread with meat and savory pastry. After cleaning the surface, it may also be used in cooking saç kebab.
Spoons and ladles made of wood or metal (tin-covered copper or rustproof steel) are used for mixing or serving food. Mallets are used for crushing meat and chops. There are also knives in various shapes for different slicing purposes. Mortars are used for pounding walnuts, sesame and garlic. Hand mills are used for grinding nuts. Electrically operated mixers and other devices are now more frequently seen in kitchens.
Glass, porcelain and rustproof steel implements take the place of plates and pans made of tin-coated copper. Since food tends to have a high liquid content, the spoon is the preferred item of cutlery for eating. Forks and knives have recently made an appearance in all houses, however. In rural areas people still eat out of the same pan. The serving plates are generally placed on a large tray made of copper called “sini.” A spoon and if necessary a fork and knife are placed in front of each person. Everyone eats from the serving plate with his own spoon. Soup, meat, vegetable-rice-pastry and dessert are served in order. The sini is placed on a base 30-40 cm high. Everyone washes his hands before and after the meal. In cities, food is served separately in the modern way.
Wooden boxes, earthenware jars, fabric bags, glass jars, bottles, barrels, plastic jars are together used for keeping the food. Various baskets composed of rushes, thin tree stems and wheat stalks are used for carrying vegetables, fruits and keeping dried fruits and vegetables. Metal sini are used instead of tables.
In traditional areas, the place where the food is prepared is known as the kitchen, ocaklik, asevi, asdami etc. Sometimes, bread, pastry or other foods which take longer to prapare are cooked in another place called the tandir, ocak, ocaklik etc.
The kitchen is not used only for cooking. It is also a place where the family eat, sit and sometimes sleep, and where the necessary equipment for cooking and serving is kept.
In cities, the kitchen is a separate part of the house. The family eat in the kitchen if it is large enough, and food is served in a separate section of the living room when there are quests in the house. Even in cities, however, meals can still sometimes be spread out on the floor.