Poring over this book made me hungry for all the foods I didn't have the opportunity to eat on a trip to Turkey several years ago and, at the same time, reminded me of all the delicacies I did try - the most intriguing of which was tavuk gogsu, a sweet pudding made with chicken breast (it tastes much better than it sounds). Sadly, there's no recipe for that in this book.
In Turkey, I ate everything from street food (mackerel sandwiches sold on fishing boats tied up on the Bosphorus; kebabs that had meat and French fries rolled up into the bread) to high-end fare, although most of it was somewhere in between.
Chef and restaurateur Somer Sivrioglu and journalist David Dale called their book Anatolia because the word - used to denote the Asian part of Turkey - reflects the thousands of years of history in a country that only became the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Anatolia also reflects the many influences of the country, including Greek, Jewish, Kurdish and Romani.
The authors write, "Turkish people have a passion for eating well. While they're enjoying breakfast, they're planning dinner … There is no time of day when you can't get interesting food, so instead of dividing this book into conventional chapters, such as starters, mains, desserts and party food, we've arranged the chapters in the form of a typical Turkish eating day."
The book starts off, naturally enough, with breakfast, and, again naturally enough, the first recipe is for simit. These sesame-encrusted bread rings are a staple that are eaten throughout the day, not just at breakfast, and are sold everywhere in Turkey - in bakeries and by the street vendors who pop up wherever crowds congregate. Sivrioglu and Dale write that a typical Turkish breakfast includes cheese, fruit, yogurt and bread, but the meal is more lavish on weekends, and varies according to region - recipes include liver kebabs (a speciality of southeastern Anatolia), cilbir (poached eggs in garlic yogurt with paprika) and Cretan eggs with wild weeds.
Turkish people are known for their love of sweets and there are plenty of recipes for those, including baklava (several variations), Ottoman doughnuts, lokum (also known as Turkish delight), sherbet (in Turkey, it's a beverage, not a frozen dessert) and Turkish coffee.
Other recipes include home-style veal doner kebab; Armenian chickpea domes; sour-cherry-stuffed vine leaves; nettle and feta fritters; ram's eggs (which are actually ram's testicles); sheep's head soup; watermelon and feta salad (something I've been making for years, although I didn't know it was Turkish); prawn and haloumi casserole; stuffed melon with chicken and cashews; and sticky oxtail dumplings with yogurt broth.
Anatolia - Adventures in Turkish Cooking Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale