Kayseri Conference proceedings book is published!
Recounting the multicultural past of Kayseri as well as the transformations that the city went through during the years 1850–1950 through a multidisciplinary approach, the proceedings book of the conference on ‘The Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and The Region’ has been published.
Side by side, shoulder to shoulder, like ears of wheat
One meal, two cities, two languages, two women and two different stories: The word mantı, and everything about it reminds me of two different flavours: One is the joy of reward, and the other, even today, carries the residue and bitterness of sadness and regret.
An ‘island of hope’ greater than the sum of its parts: Kültürhane
When a group of academics were dismissed from their teaching positions for signing a petition calling for peace, they decided to open a new space to create and collaborate. Kültürhane has been operating since 2017 in the city of Mersin as a centre for academic resistance and association. We spoke with Ulaş Bayraktar, one of its founders, about this creative project and the pathways for creative resistance.
Whatever its origins, dumplings are a universal dish. ‘Anywhere you find wheat, you will find people boiling it and eventually figuring out how to make thin sheets and either wrap fill, boil or bake them,’ says Ken Albala, Professor of History and Food Studies at the University of the Pacific.
№ 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.
№ ② Yıldız Horata
Yıldız Horata was among the participants of the Kayseri Dumpling Festival, organised by the Hrant Dink Foundation on 26 October 2019. She has spent years contemplating on the region’s multicultural cuisine, especially the culinary culture of Kayseri and its Armenians, and sharing what she has gathered with the new generations.
№ ③Serra Yılmaz
Actor, director and translator Serra Yılmaz is not only one of the notable names in the theatre and cinema world, but also known for her multifaceted creative life and productions. We have talked with her about a range of ways of resistance, from cinema and theatre to setting and sharing beautiful tables.
Mutfak || Matbakh Workshop
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?
My Istanbul, the spice and charm of my life
We can talk about an Istanbul cuisine today because of its adaptability, as Istanbul’s long-time inhabitants and its newer arrivals, regardless of when they came, share this common culture with an open mind: seeing, tasting, trying and exchanging recipes for the food each other eat, making it the same way or with some modification according to taste.
How do two sugar cubes ‘flavour’ our memory?
Remembering is an effort made against time and life that pass us by, against being forgotten and being forced to learn to forget. Sites of memory and museums defy oblivion and contribute to the construction of a future based on co-existence, equality and peace by making remembrance a collective undertaking.
Traces of mantı throughout history ②
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.
Resistance through documentary, documenting resistance
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.
Mantı: Kneaded from the same dough
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.
Discovering Ankara and Istanbul’s multicultural stories with the KarDes tour-guide app
Since 2020, the Hrant Dink Foundation has cast a spotlight on the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Turkey with its mobile application KarDes: Multicultural Memory Tour Guide, which also aims to disseminate multicultural stories that are often excluded from the official narrative.
On censorship and damaged bonds
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.
Traces of mantı throughout history ①
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)...
Today there are many words that are subject to widespread censorship, words that are ‘inconvenient’ for or ‘go against the interests’ of those who hold political and/or economic power. However, even though racist propaganda is illegal according to various international documents – and quite rightly so – it is rare for racist discourse to be subjected to censorship: What is called ‘freedom of expression’ can also turn into the freedom to insult.
A bitter taste
Shahidul Alam elaborates on the severe human rights violations and abuses in Bangladesh: ‘While we undeniably live in a climate of fear, the role of artists, journalists and prominent citizens is ever pertinent. Forms of resistance and pro-active actions through creative means, should surely have emanated from such citizens. Their conspicuous silence and their complicity in the face of injustice leaves behind a taste that is distinctly bitter.’
Slow down and make dumplings!
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!
Samosa packets against human rights abuses
Sofia Karim first produced ‘Samosa Packets’ in 2018 for a campaign to protest the arrest of Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam. They went on to become the artistic expression of a solidarity movement against widespread human rights violations in India and Bangladesh. The movement, called ‘Turbine Bagh’, continues its campaign, especially for journalists and political prisoners who are deprived of their freedom of expression.
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.
As if playing with playdough…
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.
Everyone and no one’s food: A journey along the Black Sea with dumplings
I believe that food tells us about the climate, migration, lifestyles (even modes of survival), economic conditions, innovations and traditions of communities and regions. Like every food, dumplings have diversified and adapted to the conditions of time and place in the Black Sea region.
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.
Dumpling stories from Avanos
As I grew from a child into a young man and got to know my butcher grandfather, grandmother, aunt and uncles better, I came to see that dumplings were not just a simple meal in their lives. It was practically an indispensable object in a sacred ritual that held the whole family together.
A taste of Kayseri reborn in Greece
The Kourounlian, Avakian, and Batanian families, all originally from Cappadocia, have been using traditional methods to produce pastırma (cured spiced beef) in Greece for four generations. Their products are found in supermarkets, delicatessens, and small traditional grocers in the country, as well as across Europe and elsewhere around the world. A good meze, after all, knows no bounds.