№ ① Takuhi Tovmasyan
Takuhi Tovmasyan is a prominent writer on food culture and of memoirs, including Sofranız Şen Olsun: Ninelerimin Mutfağından Damağımda, Aklımda Kalanlar or Merry Meals: What Remains in My Mind, and Mouth from My Grannies’ Kitchen. She is a storyteller who nurtures both our intellect and emotions. She participated in the Hrant Dink Foundation’s Kayseri Dumplings Festival on October 26, 2019. We have talked with her about memory and the festival.
How and when was Mutfak || Matbakh Workshop, which started its work in Gaziantep to expand the space for learning living-together and dialogue in the context of refugees, established? Why Mutfak || Matbakh, which means kitchen in Turkish and Arabic? Who is doing what in this kitchen?
To develop more nuanced answers about why mantı is nowadays seen as a dish from Kayseri, rather than from Konya, requires first putting aside the mono-cultural values and attitudes that the nation-state and nationalist ideology seek to instil in its citizens.
Dumplings, which are called ‘mantı’ in Turkish, is a popular dish that finds its place in Turkey with a variety of names: mantı, dry mantı, kulak aşı, piruhi (pierogi), hıngel (khinkali), şiş börek (dumpling soup), Tatar böreği (savoury pastry in Tartar style), cimcik (very small dumplings), tray mantı, Kandilli mantı (dumplings stuffed with chicken and rice)...
Cultures, regions and families across the world have their own style of dumplings. Dumplings are a local dish, heavy with tradition. Stuffing, wrapping and cooking this dish demands effort. It is not an instant meal, it’s a meal that requires time. It is a collaborative meal, often made with the cooperation of a few people. To me, all these features make dumplings the world’s most popular slow food!
Once, Nora had followed a woman in red shoes. She wore a long silky skirt that came down to her ankles, and her shoes were just like those Nora’s sister had worn the last time she saw her: low heeled with a small buckle, so cute they almost looked like children’s shoes.
Artist Güneş Terkol and her mother Elmira Terkol are talking about Elmira’s journey from China to Istanbul along with a povzı recipe in the artist’s kitchen. Povzı, a type of dumpling they make with their heirloom kitchenware from China, contains stories about food and memory that has been passed down from generation to generation.