A HEAVEN OF TASTES, GOURMET CITY GAZIANTEP

Click to order the book of Tahir Tekin Öztan, owner of Sahan Restaurants, entitled ''A Heaven of Tastes, Gourmet City Gaziantep''.

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A HEAVEN OF TASTES, GOURMET CITY GAZIANTEP CUISINE

TAHIR TEKIN OZTAN

Tahir Tekin Öztan, Chairman of Sahan, wrote a book with recipes he collected from village to village. There is a recipe from the Minister Fatma Şahin in the book entitled ''Gaziantep Foods from Tradition to Future'' including unknown tastes.

Hundreds of tastes like cevizli maş salatası, mençe, kakırdak böreği, mıcırık aşı, umaç, haylan kabağı tatlısı, hedik, haytayla, nişe helvası... Gaziantep foods that became notorious with regional flavors are one of the cuisines rarely called with city name in the world. These recipes of Gaziantep foods sunk into oblivion reflecting old centuries as a cultural heritage are collected a book. The book entitled Gaziantep Foods From Tradition to Future prepared by the Chairman of Sahan Tahir Tekin Öztan as a result of five-year research both brings to light to historical Gaziantep foods and bears a source nature.

The book includes 420 traditional food recipes. Öztan explains that idea of collecting tastes dating back to the centuries before in a single book has emerged during a dinner:

When we were trying regional tastes with my friends in Istanbul one night, we started talking about ''What is the origin of Antep foods?'' A friend of mine who had recently came from Gaziantep said that taste, method and presentation of one of the foods are oppositely different from the one in Gaziantep. I have been engaged in this business for 41 years, thus it's not possible to cook and present the foods in a wrong way. But I also can not claim that it's done wrong in Gaziantep because they are my ancestors. I started to make researches. I tried to find Gaziantep cook books written 50-100 years ago. There wasn't any written source, all of the cook books were belonging to the recent period. I decided to find old recipes sunk into oblivion.''

A RECIPE FROM THE MINISTER

First of all, Öztan started to investigate who made Gaziantep foods popular to prepare the book. For that purpose, he traveled from village to village for months with this team of four. Saying that he took a special recipe from each house he visited, Öztan tells that they had two thousand foods at the end: "We traveled five thousand kilometers and took photos of five thousand foods. We listened these foods from each woman. A 80-year old woman was actually giving us her mother's recipe and thus we had to opportunity to go back almost 120 years ago. We also experienced some interesting things. For example, we met a woman, took her recipe and took her picture. In the night, her husband was at the door. 'How could you take pictures of my wife?' he started asking! We returned everything. We established a commission consisting of academicians, wise women and writers of Gaziantep to eliminate two thousand recipes we collected. This commission decided which food was real Antep recipe.''

There is also a recipe from Fatma Şahin, the Minister of Family and Social Policies, in the book. Öztan says that Gaziantep Deputy Şahin enjoyed the project: "The minister Şahin shared her favorite sour small meat balls recipe. This was a great surprise for us.''

THE OLDEST RECIPE, QUINCE ONION KEBAB

The oldest taste in Gaziantep Foods From Tradition to Future is the quince onion kebab recipe of Sakine İşçiman who is 97 years old. The book also includes the haylan kabağı dessert recipe of Öztan's mother who passed away two months ago: "All of the recipes may be practiced at home. Antep tastes like Nişe helvası, astarlı sütlaç, haytayla, demir tatlısı, tarhana tatlısı eritmesi, İslam hubbesi are not quite known. If it weren't for the book, new generations wouldn't learn these recipes. Some of the people from whom we got recipes were very old, and some passed away like my mother. Therefore, may be we wouldn't take these recipes 10 years later.''

SOUR SMALL MEAT BALLS FROM THE MINISTER SAHIN

Cook a half kilo of bone-in meat for 45 minutes with 5-6 glasses of water and skim off. Add a glass of chick peas soaked a night before and cook until the chick peas are softened. Add salt, a spoon of tomato and red pepper paste. Stir and knead for half an hour two glasses of fine bulgur, 250 gr raw mince, fine-chopped onion, black pepper and salt and roll at the size of hazelnut and put onto strainer. Place the strainer into pot full of boiling water and close the cover and cook the meat balls for half an hour with steam. Meat balls are added into meat and chick peas and boiled for five minutes. Add a spoon of sumac extract or juice of a lemon. Put mint fried in butter onto food and serve.

GAZIANTEP FOODS ARE REGISTERED

Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine, Association of Gaziantep Gastronomy and Chiefs and Association of Gaziantep Club registered 30 different Gaziantep foods for geographic region within the scope of a common project as they received deeds for foods.

As a first in Turkey and world, 30 different foods belonging to Gaziantep cuisine culture were registered by Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine, Association of Gaziantep Gastronomy and Chiefs and Association of Gaziantep Club. Each association registered ten different foods and a special commission was established for the studies beforehand. 30 registered foods were introduced to the public during a ceremony organized in Sahan Şirehan and collective call was made to register Antep foods over 500 to the local managements, Governorship of Gaziantep, Management of Culture and Tourism and other Non-Governmental Organizations. Tahir Tekin Öztan, President of Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine, İlkay Gök Pınarlı, President of Association of Gaziantep Gastronomy and Chiefs and Gamze Aşnük, Former President of Association of Gaziantep Club participated in the meeting organized.

Tahir Tekin Öztan, President of Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine, expressed that it's impossible to remain insensitive to the efforts of neighboring countries to register many important foods of Turkish cuisine and it's on the verge to lose many Turkish foods after baklava to the different countries and said that:

"We took an important step for the registration processes of Gaziantep foods that we have archived in our book entitled Gaziantep Foods From Tradition to Future. For the first time, three separate non-governmental organizations came together and each association registered 30 Gaziantep foods in total, each one registered 10 foods, to take geographical deeds of these foods. This is an important event. Today, Greece made a claim to our baklava and Bulgaria tries to register Paça, that means if we don't protect our cultural values, many of our living cultural items will be registered and protected by other countries. We broke new grounds and we took an important step regarding Gaziantep cuisine as three associations came together and we registered and proved that 30 types of foods belong to Gaziantep cuisine with scientific criteria through geographical registrations. There are more than 500 Gaziantep foods. We expect from other non-governmental organizations, Governorship of Gaziantep, local managements and relevant institutions to undertake and realize registration studies about our other foods. We cleared the way in this field by working in coordination as three associations. We led the way. It's required to maintain the sustainability of this union of forces. GAUN provides great support for these studies. Other universities should also support these studies. It's required to register our foods not only on behalf of Gaziantep but also in the world. This means that regional and geographical registration is not enough in the international field, it's required to be registered in the world. What we experienced in baklava shouldn't come true for the foods. We should take lessons from baklava example. We registered baklava in Turkey but Greece took the world registration. This shouldn't happen to our other foods. These registration processes aren't beneficial for any of us materially but they should be as first steps of a great service for Gaziantep and Turkish cuisine culture. By taking the studies conducted as example, GTO, GSO, Governorship of Gaziantep and local managements being in the first place, other non-governmental organizations should provide support to make separate registration procedures for all items of Gaziantep cuisine. We should all come together when Gaziantep culture is in question. We have to join forces and come together for Gaziantep. As three non-governmental organizations, we will provide necessary technical and information support to other association and organizations for next registration procedures. Gaziantep will get the best of these studies. These foods belong to us but in order to prove that we should definitely perform registration procedures.''

İlkay Gök Pınarlı, Chairman of Association of Gaziantep Gastronomy and Chiefs, gave technical information regarding the studies conducted and said that: ''A new ground is broken in Turkey and even in world. We made 30 geographical registrations. No one had monetary gains from the registration of the foods. In order to protect Gaziantep food culture, we started geographical registration studies along with three associations. As Association of Gaziantep Gastronomy and Chiefs, our primary goals are to protect the original Gaziantep foods and teach and hand down the next generations to prevent its sinking into oblivion. In parallel with this purpose, our association prepares projects and works and provides any kind of supports. Studying for food registration is one of them. When we started studying, we learned that Association of Gaziantep Club and Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine were making researches to register the foods and then we decided to collaborate and realize as three associations. After the decision is taken, a commission is established consisted of members who knows Gaziantep foods, has made researches, has written a book and a quick study has been started. Members started to study for registration of the foods in February 2011 and first of all, they determined the names of the foods and original recipes of each food. This process has lasted for about six months and then meetings were made with enterprises, governmental institutions and organizations to provide support for the registration studies regarding the foods. It will support the conservation of food culture that hasn't been protected until now, not having any written history or written book until 20-25 years ago when we researched, remained unfulfilled, forgotten and even lost its originality as they weren't kept under record.

Thanks to the geographical registration, original recipes of these foods will be officialized, will be kept in government books and these recipes will be remained in government papers as recorded in the same way even after centuries and thus the possibility of other city and countries' making a claim to these foods is eliminated. Prof. Dr. İsmail H. Özsabuncuoğlu, Ragıp Güzelbey, Akten Köylüoğlu, Sermin Ocak, Özden Özsabuncuoğlu, Eray Tatar, Gonca Tokuz, Şef Doğa Çitçi, Rıdvan Çağdaş and Filiz Hösükoğlu are assigned in this commission. We believe that it's required to register other Gaziantep foods in the upcoming periods. For this purpose, Governorship of Gaziantep and local managements being in the first place, GTO, GSO and other NGOs have important duties. We are ready to provide necessary guidance in upcoming registration procedures.

Gamze Aşnük, Former Chairman of Gaziantep Club, expressed that Gaziantep Club embraced Gaziantep culture and art and undertook an important mission to hand down the next generations and said that: ''Association of Gaziantep Club was established in 1993. It's an association founded by businessmen who like Gaziantep and are at certain levels in their fields. It's purpose is to research the problem of Gaziantep and produce solutions as much as possible and conduct projects in cooperation with public institutions and organizations. Gaziantep Club gives importance to a mission. Gaziantep has a wide range of cultural heritage spread in a very wide area. It's the mission of Gaziantep Club to hand down this cultural heritage to the next generations in a healthy way. And this project is a part of this mission. This beautiful study has an interesting story. Actually, we all have extensive knowledge about food culture that is the most important element of Gaziantep culture. We all know how a good food is like and we also have sense of nationalism. We can't get the taste of the foods that we eat under the name of Gaziantep foods in different cities. Those foods that are presented as Antep foods are made so different than we know. However, they are served as Antep foods. When we are discussing these issues, we read the recipe of ''yuvarlama'', one of the most important foods of Gaziantep cuisine in a national newspaper. It was wrong. Then, we were planning to introduce Gaziantep Yuvarlama to the public with its all characteristics and we found ourselves within this study. We joined forces with the experts of the subject and conducted beautiful studies together. I wish good luck to Gaziantep. As Tahir Tekin Öztan said, this is a study which should be conducted in collaboration. We hope that other non-governmental organizations also register one or two Antep foods in future. Thus, Antep foods will be passed down from generation to generation on a solid foundation.' During the ceremony organized, İlkay Gök Pınarlı, President of Association of Gastronomy and Chiefs and Association of Gaziantep Club presented a plaquet in memory of the day to Tahir Tekin Öztan, President of Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine and Gamze Aşnük, Former President of Association of Gaziantep Club, and they all had their photographs taken with commission members and chiefs supporting the study.

REGISTERED FOODS

After the studies conducted,
Association of Gaziantep Gastronomy and Chiefs registered
Öz Çorba,
Şiveydiz,
Ekşili Taraklık,
Keme Kebab,
Sebzeli Peynir Böreği,
Firik Pilavı,
Katmer,
Beyran,
Kilis Kebab,
Samsaklı-Bahdenizli Kebab.

Association for Research, Development and Protection of Anatolian Cuisine registered
Yuvarlama,
İçli Köfte,
Ali Nazik,
Lahmacun,
New World Kebab,
Çiğ Köfte,
Simit Kebab,
Onion Kebab,
Antep Salat,
Ezogelin Soup

Association of Gaziantep Club registered
Alaca Çorba,
Sarımsak Aşı,
Akıtmalı Köfte,
Sarımsak Kebabı,
Zeytin Böreği,
Özbek Pilavı,
Malhutalı Köfte,
Buhara Pilavı,
Maş Piyazı,
Peynirli İrmik Helvası

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