Wednesday, 24 July 2024
Imagine a Kitchen… Do not Leave without Burning!

Imagine a Kitchen… Do not Leave without Burning!

Think of a kitchen so that its philosophy is based on respecting food and consuming them in the most efficient and correct way. Even making noise is considered disrespectful to food... Sit at the table together and leave the table together... When someone drinks water, the others stop eating and wait so that the right does not pass. Chefs who cook the foods in nature with their dexterous hands and mediate them to come to the table are honored. And be thankful for every bite. We are talking about Mevlevi Cuisine, one of the most special cuisines not only in Anatolia but also in the world. Would you like to get to know this unique cuisine, which has left us a rich culture as well as a great food philosophy?


The holy place of Mevlevism: Kitchen


Rumi said, “Come again, whatever you are!”. It should not be surprising that the Mevlevi Order, which loves people only on the denominator of being human, regardless of religion, language or race, and advocated the meaninglessness of wars hundreds of years ago, has made this philosophy dominant in its own culinary culture. We know the saying of Rumi, whose fame went beyond the borders of Konya and spread all over the world: “I was raw, I was cooked, I burned.” This word that Mevlana used to describe his life teaching also opens the doors of Mevlevi Cuisine to us. Because the kitchen is the place where dervishes step into Mevlevism and cook and become mature. Those who make a confession in the presence of the Chef Dede, if accepted, are assigned to sit in the kitchen on a skin for three days. They only observe the surroundings without leaving their places except for their needs. At the end of the third day, if they find it appropriate to stay, they are taken to the presence of Kazancı Dede. If they get the approval of Kazancı Dede, they are assigned to the service for 18 days this time. Those who successfully complete this process are entitled to wear the kitchen clothe. Thus, the ordeal period that will continue for 1001 days in the kitchen under the auspices of Kazancı Dede begins. The aim, of course, is to learn to respect and be grateful for the extraordinary food that God offers to mankind. For this reason, cooking in the Mevlevi Cuisine is like a state of worship from beginning to end. In Mevlevi Cuisine, which attaches great importance to table (somat) service as much as cooking the food, a table is set twice a day, in the morning and at noon. Being quiet during the meal is one of the most important table rules for the Mevlevis, who start and finish the meal after Kazancı Dede's prayer.


The ritual of Meal: A form of worship…


The place of salt in the Mevlevi table, which has a very rich culinary culture, is also important. The Mevlevi who started the meal with a pinch of salt put in the mouth, would also make the closing with salt.


We can say that Mevlevi Cuisine has richness beyond the conditions of the period. All the materials at hand have been brought together in the most ideal combinations possible. Tutmaç soup, Mevlevi pilaf (Hassaten Lokma), quince with molasses, rose-leaf lettuce salad and eggplant salad are the best-known flavors of this cuisine. In addition to the vinegar sherbet (with honey) and rose sherbet offered in between to facilitate digestion, molasses and yoghurt are indispensable on the table. Almond halva takes its place in this kitchen as Rumi's favorite dish. In the Mevlevi Cuisine, which used almost all the fruits, vegetables and spices found in Anatolia at that time, the presentation of the dishes is as important as the preparation.


As we learned from Dr. Nevin Halıcı, one of the most important references of Mevlevi Cuisine, this cuisine contains more delicacy than Ottoman cuisine. Even the top of the desserts is decorated with gold leaves.


Recipes transferred from Mesnevi to the present…


The good thing is that the prescriptions that Mevlana gave in his works are still alive today. For example, we know that vinegar sherbet, known for its digestive system cleansing feature, is included in the "Mesnevi" with the sentences "Vinegar and honey should be in the same amount". Likewise, we witness the consumption of coffee in Anatolia in those times in Mesnevi. He said “Our state is a subsistence state, our coffee is coming from the throne; Almond halva spilled and scattered in the parliament”. As you know, Rumi used many things related to cuisine and food as a means of expression. He even conveyed his philosophy of life with symbols in nature. The recipes that he includes in his works are a very valuable legacy that presents the culinary culture of his age to future generations.