Celebrating Breakfasts, The Turkish Way
Well, it should come as no surprise to anybody that a lot of my life planning revolves around food. Travel, parties, picnics, festivals, religion, relationships, jobs — a lot of joyous memories associated with any of these critical elements of life often have food at their centre. Within this realm of food loving, my favourite activity is arguably that of breaking fast each morning. My last meal each day is usually consumed by 6pm, and a good morning to me means waking up hungry, energetic, and ready to start another day of memorable food. Having grown up with the privilege of Amma-made dosas and idlis at 7.30am each morning, it is safe to say that my Zen version can give up a lot except a hearty breakfast.
Why this preamble about breakfasts? Because I want to tell you more about a cultural activity that celebrates food, culinary diversity, and, most importantly, breakfasts. Welcome to the land of Turkish breakfasts! Where time stops, where all your senses are focused on the colours, textures, flavours, sounds, and comforts around you. Let me walk you through how you can create your own Turkish breakfast celebration at home. The aim here is not necessarily to replicate authentic flavours, but to instead appreciate and experience that intangible joy of such a slow life-oriented breakfast.
A Turkish breakfast is best known for its variety. Of proteins, fresh produce, sweet items, cheeses, breads, and tea. So our intent here is to create a platter, a spread laid out on plain-coloured plates that hero the colours of each item.
- Look into your refrigerator and prepare a favourite, easy-to-make egg item. Scrambled eggs, bhurji, boiled eggs, steamed eggs, whatever your heart desires. Or, go the Turkish way and make a tomatoey, and spices-induced bhurji called Menemen.
- If you eat sausages of any kind, fry them up and add them as well.
- Cut up some fresh veggies (for example, tomatoes, cucumbers).
- If you have any pickled items such as sauerkrauts, olives, kimchis, whatever, lay those out as well.
- Next, the breads — buy or make at least 2 varieties of breads of your choice.
- Have at least two types of cheeses you like — make paneer at home and buy whatever cheeses you like. If it is Amul that your heart asks for, just do it. Remember, this is a space for yourself and not for the authenticity police.
- Next up, dips — hummus, chimichurri, chipotle, garlic yoghurt, flavoured olive oil, that spicy schezwan sauce, or that leftover green chutney — the world is your oyster.
- Life is incomplete without sweets, so also add your favourite chocolates, seasonal fruits, and jams to the spread.
- And, lastly but not leastly, have a LOT of black tea ready and accessible in a thermos, so people can keep sipping as they desire.
To summarise, on the culinary front you will find at least white, cream, green, red, yellow, brown on this spread. A joy to the senses, and a great way to start your day.
On the decor front, add a traditional Indian / Persian-influenced carpet. You could hang up some flowy dupattas, and use colourful, ethnic print cushions on your seating arrangement.
Textures & flavours
As you plan all those elements mentioned in the ‘Colours’ section above, make sure to have a variety of textures — crispy, crunchy, soft, creamy. You will also end up with items that are sweet, spicy (if you like), mildly flavoured, and sour. This allows for a confusingly delightful experience for each person, and also is very accommodating to different people’s preferences.
The sounds to build into this grand breakfast plan are twofold — music and conversation. I truly believe music can elevate any situation, whether positive or negative. This breakfast would therefore be incomplete without some ambient music. No need to put any work into this, here is our playlist for you. It has a mix of Turkish rock, folk, and pop. On the conversation front, it is important to organise this experience with people you enjoy spending time with, on a day that all of you have enough time to go deep.
Well, I will admit this spread involves a lot of food. Give it the time and mindspace it deserves, and give yourself the opportunity to get out of the daily stresses to lie back and experience this breakfast. The element of comfort begins with the preparation — do not attempt to make items that need to be served hot, or those that aren’t easy to make in large batches. For example, pick a frittata rather than an omelette. This breakfast should primarily involve items that are pre-made and can be laid out, that can be quickly prepared, and that can be just cut and put on a plate.
The other part of ensuring comfort is the seating space. We recommend having one that allows you to lie down easily, spending the hours without having to stress out about that definitely incoming post-30 back ache.
Colours, Textures, Flavours, Sounds, Comforts. By these powers combined, you can enjoy your very own Turkish breakfast this weekend!
For more insights about Turkish culture and to experience Turkish food and culture, reach out on Instagram (@thetravelingthali) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here are two pictures for inspiration for your Turkish breakfast weekend!