Turkish cookbooks published since the Republican era continue to include recipes for Tatar böreği, mantı, and its variations known by different names, prepared in different shapes and sizes, and cooked with different techniques in Turkey’s different regions.
We need a documentary cinema of resistance, and it needs an audience that will stand up for it. The question of which stories we tell, share and document today is directly related to the collective construction of our social memory.
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.
Censorship always leaves traces. It reconfigures whatever it operates on, even if it is ‘unsuccessful’ in suppressing artistic expressions in their entirety. Rather than destroying artworks, images or otherwise, censorship seems to break the bonds among people, among communities.
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)...
Since the main ingredient is dough, everyone could put their own touch on hangel as if playing with playdough. The dough could be made thinner or thicker, filled or empty; it was topped with all kinds of ingredients; and based on the geographical conditions of the people making it, together with their cultural backgrounds, the dish took on different names and local flavours.