Turkey Cuisine and Dishes
Some of the Turkish cuisine elements were brought from Central Asia, but most of them were adopted from the previously dominant cultures of Armenia, Greece, Lebanon, Georgia and Jordan. As a result, Turkey shares cuisines with other countries of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Most often used ingredients in traditional Turkish dishes include eggplant, green pepper, onion, lentil, bean, tomato, garlic, and cucumber. Grape, apricot, cherry, melon, fig, lemon, pistachio, pine nut, almond, hazelnut, watermelon, and walnut are among the most abundantly used fruits and nuts. Preferred spices and herbs are parsley, cumin, pepper, paprika, mint, and thyme. All meats except pork is used, and lamb from milk-fed lambs are considered a delicacy. Shawarmas (literally 'rotating meat', is a sliced lamb or chicken loaf slowly roasted on a vertical rotating spit. ) are well known traditional Turkish dishes. The Turks usually marinate their meats and grill it over an open fire.
Rice is the essential part of all dishes but alternatively bulgar that is made of wheat is also used. The Turks prefer using olive oil in their foods as it is fairly cheap and easyily accesible in the western parts where olive trees are grown abundantly. Their bread are mainly prepared from wheat, corn or barley and is sometimes baked in what is called a tandoor (a round oven). Turkish bread is usually broad, round and flat shaped bread.
A favorite well known traditional Turkish desert is Baklava (A layered dessert made with very thin sheets of phyllo pastry, which have been buttered and layered in a rectangular baking dish, or layered and rolled into a log. Ground and finely chopped walnuts or pistachios are layered between the sheets of pastry, which are baked and soaked in a solution of sugar and either lemon juice or honey and spices with rosewater. It is then cut into triangles, squares, diamonds or rounds and is often served with Kaymak (clotted cream) to cut through the sweetness. Thick Turkish coffee or tea is usually seved after dinner.
Alcohol is widely available in Turkey, although most of the Turks restrain from alcohol during the holy month of Ramadan.