The myth of Cretan cuisine in Anatolia Füsun ERTUĞ Ph.D. İznik/ Nicea- Türkiye [email_address] “ Cretan Cuisine: History, Evolution, Questions and Answers (?)” July 16 –17, 2011 Karanou (Chania / Crete / Greece) BODRUM MARKET 2006
The Myth <ul><li>In Turkey it is generally believed that Cretan migrants were the ones who have introduced the tradition of gathering and eating wild greens to Anatolia. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Muslim population of Crete declined through the 19th century, and according to the last Ottoman census, in 1881, Muslims were only 26% of the population, concentrated in the three large towns on the north coast, and in Monofatsi * . </li></ul><ul><li>The waves of immigration of Muslim Turks from Crete to the Aegean towns and SW Anatolia occurred during the 19th and early 20th centuries. </li></ul><ul><li>* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cretan_Turks </li></ul>The background of the myth
Groups of Muslims migrated during or after the events of 1897 , at the start of the Greek rule in 1908, and especially in the framework of the 1923 agreement of the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations, which we refer to as ‘mübadele’ in Turkish. <ul><li>Migrants settled mostly along the coastline, shores where they felt at home at least for its climate and its natural habitat. The vegetation in both sides of the Aegean Sea and along the Mediterranean were more or less the same. </li></ul>Kaya koruğu- Crithmum maritimum
What was happening when the Cretan Muslims arrived to Anatolia? <ul><li>During the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, Ottoman state became weaker administratively, politically and economically. Wars had major impact on commerce and agriculture, especially where there were territorial losses that would rip apart Ottoman economic unity, often destroying relationships and social patterns that had endured centuries. </li></ul><ul><li>Oral histories among rural populations of Anatolia often mention famine stories. I have read and listened to many narratives about hunger. The early years of the 20 th century were not prosperous years for neither Greece nor Turkey. </li></ul>Cretan Muslims (‘Kirtikos’) arrived to a country in a turmoil. According to the myth their contemporaries in Anatolia (‘yerlides’) had limited information about local herbs, and learned edible plants from Cretan migrants. Cretans’ fondness of herbs has been the source of many jokes. Some jokes intended to humiliate migrants, as they were ‘different’. They were not ‘Turks’ for their language was different, and not ‘good Muslims’ for they had a fondness for eating snails.
Jokes and facts <ul><li>A well-known story from Bodrum: A child informed his father that a Cretan woman and a cow had entered their garden and asked what he were to do? The father answered: ‘Leave the cow, it goes away when she is full, but take out the Cretan woman, she gathers everything ’. </li></ul><ul><li>It seems that over time tales intended as jokes tend to be regarded as facts. </li></ul><ul><li>My ethnobotanical research from 1994 on, indicated that in rural areas, village women have the knowledge and collect the edible greens throughout Anatolia. </li></ul><ul><li>We may choose to believe the myth related to the Cretan migrants and how they introduced and taught the gathering of edibles to Anatolian women, yet there is no proof. </li></ul>
Comparison of three studies for wild edibles Among these three studies the highest number of edibles were recorded at Bodrum, it was also the longest study and the area of research was much larger than both. The town of Buldan, which is at the junction of Inner Anatolia and the Aegean, provided comparatively limited information*. Endemics were in limited use in all three areas. In addition in a recent study in Igdır, NE corner of Turkey (near Yerevan, Armenia), 143 wild taxa is recorded as food**. * Ertug, F., Tümen, G., A. Çelik and T. Dirmenci 2004 TÜBA-TÜKSEK Buldan (Denizli) Etnobotanik Alan Araştırma Raporu 2003 Yılı Çalışması (Buldan Ethnobotanical Study 2003 report). Türkiye Bilimler Akademisi TÜBA Kültür Envanteri Dergisi 2: 187-218. ** Altundag, E. and N. Özhatay (in print) Traditional Knowledge About Wild Edible Plants of Iğdır Province (East Anatolian, Turkey) Total numbers Aksaray Bodrum Buldan Total number of natural species known by locals 300 355 212 No. of species in the wild food group 101 143 80 No. of greens (leafy edibles) 42 63 23 Endemics to Turkey used as food & beverages 9 6 6
<ul><li>Cretan Turks/ Muslims certainly brought their dialect, Cretan Greek (κρητικά kritika ) and their culinary traditions based on the consumption of olive, olive oil and fresh herbs, horta . </li></ul>
<ul><li>Wild greens were free, easy to collect, and available throughout most of the year; some legumes, particularly Lathyrus species were easy to grow for making fava even in the poorest soils. </li></ul>Turp- Raphanus raphanistrum Kenker- Scolymus hispanicus Deniz Börülcesi- Salicornia europea Hardal- Sinapis arvensis Isırgan- Urtica dioica Mürdümük- Lathyrus clymenum
Market places tell a different side of the story <ul><li>Although gathering edible greens is a common tradition throughout Anatolia, the fondness of greens /herbs is most visible along the Aegean shores. </li></ul><ul><li>From Ayvalık to south, the market places are packed with greens for most of the year. This may mislead the public opinion and people believe that inland people do not gather or eat from wild. </li></ul><ul><li>The number of edible species in the western shores may not be two or three times more than inland Anatolia, but the quantity definitely is. </li></ul>
Literature on gathering <ul><li>Until 1990’s very limited study and thus literature was available about the wild edibles of Turkey. Evelyn Lyle-Kalças (1974) wrote one of the earliest book on edibles. She did her study at Bodrum, where I did mine about three decades afterwards. She wrote that plant gathering for food is limited to an area ‘from the Dardanelles south along the Aegean coast to the Mediterranean’ and can not be found more than 100 km. inland. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1994-1995 when I studied a village in Cappadocia, I was astonished by the amount of edibles the women were collecting. </li></ul>
Central Anatolia / Cappadocian experience <ul><li>The village I studied in mid 1990’s was in Central Anatolia, 25 km SE of Aksaray. It was only one km away from the early Neolithic site Aşıklı, which I had worked as an archeologist since 1989. Although the literature stated otherwise, over 100 wild plant species in the research area were considered as edible by modern locals. </li></ul>
Kızılkaya along Melendiz River - Aksaray <ul><li>Kızılkaya is a Sunni- Muslim village with about 1300 people who live in some 300 houses. It is an old local vilage founded probably in the 14th century if not earlier. Its name was found in Ottoman records from 1501 on, and did not experience any exchange of population. </li></ul>Village-plain altitude from sea level: 1200m., Hasan Dag: 3268 m.
Supplement to a carbohydrate rich diet <ul><li>Within the harsh steppe vegetation of Central Anatolia people find it hard to believe that you can find such an abundance of greens. </li></ul><ul><li>However, 42 wild leafy edibles were regularly consumed, as well as wild fruits, roots, and stems. </li></ul><ul><li>Wild greens were the most consistent component of the local diet, and were regularly gathered between October and June, when fresh greens were most needed. </li></ul><ul><li>During the winter, unless the snow was deep, it was possible to find green leaves of 13 to 16 different varieties of edible plants. Minimum number of edible species is 33 in April, 35 in May and 9 in June. </li></ul>
Cusine of the Steppes <ul><li>The gathering of leafy plants is exclusively women’s work. They gather in groups and the women are accompanied by their children. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the greens are eaten raw with salt between folds of flat bread ( yufka), but some greens require cooking. </li></ul><ul><li>These are chopped, and cooked together with onions and cracked </li></ul><ul><li>wheat ( bulgur ). This is called cacık, and usually eaten with yogurt. </li></ul><ul><li>Mahmut Makal, an author from a nearby village told us that ( My Village , 1950) when he was a child this cacık was a crucial part of daily diet for many families during early spring. </li></ul>
Misti of Cappadocia <ul><li>Kostaki* (1977) gives us very valuable historical information about the daily life of an Anatolian Greek village in Cappadocia, that in 1924 migrated to Greece. </li></ul><ul><li>Misti (known as Konakli today) is between Nigde and Derinkuyu, 26 km N of Nigde, and 50 km SE of Kızılkaya. The village population was about 4400, speaking local Turkish, Karamanlides . Their main staple was rye bread and lentils. </li></ul><ul><li>In the interviews conducted during the 1970s, more than 40 years after their migration, the former occupants provided descriptions of plants so vividly that some could be identified and some others were found to have common Turkish names (Ertug 2003)**. All edible greens were called lahana by the villagers of Misti as lahanika generally means ‘vegetable’ in Greek. </li></ul><ul><li>About 25 edible plants, 30 fuel and fodder plants, and a few other useful plants are given. Some of the plants are not known or used in the Melendiz area, such as wild garlic ( Allium sp.), while several others are common. </li></ul><ul><li>Kostaki also mentioned the trade between villages, i.e. two plants were brought to Misti by Turkish villagers: Çohan (‘Çöven’), a root used for laundry soap; and Tamisotu (’Temizlik otu’ or ‘Semizotu’/ Portulaca oleracea ), and pickled by Misti women. </li></ul><ul><li>* Kostaki, T.P. 1977 To Mi ti, Th Ka a okia I (Misti of Cappadocia), The Academia of Athens, Athens. </li></ul><ul><li>** Ertug, F. 2003 Wild Plant Gathering in a Greek Village: Misti in Cappadocia. M. Özbaşaran, O. Tanındı ve A. Boratav (Eds.), Archaeological Essays in Honour of Homo Amatus: Güven Arsebük , pp. 105-120, Ege Yayıncılık, Istanbul. </li></ul>
Misti- Konaklı of Cappadocia <ul><li>Although various sources described Misti as a poor village, a large church, named Saint Vlasis, was built in 1844 with 12 domes. It is still the most impressive building in contemporary Konaklı. Mistiotes have re-settled in the villages of Mandra and Amygdalea of Larisa , New Ayoneri of Thessaloniki and Krinites of Kavala . </li></ul>
From the inland to Bodrum <ul><li>Bodrum/ Halicarnassus is a small port town on the southwestern coast of Turkey, where Herodotus, the father of history was born in the fifth century B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>In the population exchange local Greeks were replaced by Cretan Turks. Thus it was an ideal place to study the myth of who teached what and to whom. However, after about 80 years from the last migration answers were not clear any more. </li></ul><ul><li>In a long term ethnobotanical study at Bodrum in 1999- 2002, circa 400 species of ‘useful’ plants were listed. The highest percentage of useful plants was of natural or so-called "wild" edibles. </li></ul>A total of 143 natural species (63 leaves and shoots) are recorded in the food and beverage category *. Some edible plants are no longer collected by local people, some others are known only by certain villagers, and some species are under the threat of over collection. * Ertug, F. 2004 Wild Edible Plants of the Bodrum Area (Muğla, Turkey), Turkish Journal of Botany 28: 161-174.
Greens and vegetable dishes A typical Bodrum / Aegean table is consist of greens, beans, dolma’s of all kinds, and salads. Most of them cooked with olive oil. Greens were either boiled or fried with onion; also eaten with yogurt or eggs. From October on, it is possible to collect about 25 wild greens, and this number can increase to 43 in February. The number then decreases, and in May many edible greens have bloomed and the leaves have become tough, leaving only about 15 still edible.
Favorite Wilds <ul><li>A mixture of greens often sold in the markets as ‘ böreklik ’. Pies with gathered greens ( otlu börek ) are also among the favorites of Western Anatolia. </li></ul><ul><li>Foeniculum vulgare ( sırra ) adds a distinct flavour to all roasted greens and pies, as well as meat stews. While hardal (Sinapis arvensis and Brassica nigra) and turpotu (Raphanus raphanistrum sp.) are the most frequently consumed greens, some greens are prized over the others. </li></ul>Asparagus ( Tilkişen ) and Tamus ( Acıot ) shoots are considered delicacy.
<ul><li>In a village around Bodrum, an elderly woman cooking broad beans over an open fire. Indoor fireplace is for winter cooking and heating. </li></ul>
Serving broad beans- bakla This pot of fresh beans cooked over the fire with some olive oil and a bunch of Chrysanthemum stems with its flowers. The salt was added right before the dish was served, and it was very tasty. Broad beans, cheese, and a plate of olives with bread created a great lunch.
<ul><li>When there is a festivity and worthy guests, food preferences are changed. 6 to 8 variety of dishes, at least one with meat becomes an important criteria of better hospitality. Beans or chick pea with some meat, rice, dolma, soup, potato, salad, and yogurt are among the dishes to serve in weddings. </li></ul>Dishes for the weddings and ceremonies
Conclusion and some more questions <ul><li>The myth of Cretan migrants introducing their tradition of gathering to Anatolia, do not correspond with recent scientific data. As collecting seems a common tradition, and have been recorded in areas where no Cretan migrants ever reached. </li></ul><ul><li>However, some questions are waiting to be answered: </li></ul><ul><li>Are there any wild edibles in Anatolia only gathered by Cretan descendants? </li></ul><ul><li>Were this tradition of gathering edibles common between Christian and Muslim populations of Crete? </li></ul><ul><li>Were they collecting the same species? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we compile a comparative list of edibles of recent Crete and i.e. West Anatolia? How? </li></ul><ul><li>. ......THANK YOU TO ALL.... </li></ul>WAKE UP BEFORE DAWN FOR A GOOD FORTUNE