Mary Işin Decodes the Language of Gifts of Sweets in Turkish Culture

Program Description


UK expat Mary Işin has lived in Turkey since 1973. After learning the language and sampling its glorious cuisine, she embarked on a project to make Turkish cuisine better known in the Anglophone world. But while investigating contemporary foods, she became fascinated with the social and historical contexts of Turkish foodways, especially the magnificent cuisine of the Ottoman Empire. She has written several culinary histories of Ottoman cookery, and in this presentation, focuses on the meaning of gifts of sweets–whether fruits or confections in Turkish culture.

The homemade or homegrown versions are most appreciated, and no such gift is too humble to be offered to the most exalted members of Turkish society. Each foodstuff has a specific meaning, and these gifts speak a well-understood language between giver and recipient, whether to celebrate a birth, wedding, funeral or simply an acknowledgement of friendship. The recipes accompanying this presentation satisfy both creamy and crunchy preferences.