Welcome to my blog chronicling my Fulbright academic year in Turkey. I’m a food anthropologist especially interested in Slow Food and whole-animal butchery.

Important disclaimer! I am not in any way associated with the US State Department, so these ramblings are my own. OR ARE THEY? (They are).

Ideally, I’ll be all over Turkey, but my main focus will be on the Slow Food city (“cittaslow”) of Seferihisar and the butchers of Istanbul. The Fulbright program has given me the freedom to explore all over the country, so I’m going to be a good little grantee and comb this huge land to the best of my ability. (Note: combing the land mostly involves eating all the food like some Turko-American locust with a thirst for raki). If you feel like getting your hands dirty with some good ol’ fashioned book learnin’, then feel free to read my proposal here.

I came to Turkey from Berkeley, CA, where I interned and worked at a whole-animal butcher shop and have soaked up priceless food knowledge and experiences from the birthplace of California Slow Food. I think good food (tremendously subjective, of course) is a fundamental human right. I think that eating meat is not “bad” or “good,” especially considering the fossil record and our primate omnivorous ancestry. I think that food too often becomes trapped in a false dichotomy of medicine/poison, fat/lean, acceptable/taboo.

My other loves are soccer, beer, television, and using an old steak knife to scratch this one spot on the bottom of my left foot. (I call it “foot knife,” and the handle is labeled with an “F” so that it doesn’t inadvertently get mixed back into the steak knife gen-pop).

12 thoughts on “About

  1. Erdem. You are on deck now. This is great! Your feet are on the ground, your perspective is broad, and Mary is at your side. How can this be anything but forward progress for the both of you, and for the rest of us also? Thank you both for this opportunity to follow your big adventure.

  2. I want recipes! (weed out the bad ones (…all fish) and post those awesome kebabs! I believe that’s the Adana area?) Not big on the eggplant. Nuts? mmmmmmmyeah ok. Yes to most of all the other tasty garlic, onion, peppers, thyme, oregano, etc etc..) It would be interesting to see a Cacık recipe (so I can compare to the Indian Raita). Also – I know there are a mountain of soups that are usually served first (or so I have been told … somewhere) it would be great to get some good info on those recipes.

    I also need something to go with football (NFL) – so why not toss in Lahmacun? (Turkish Pizza).

    Don’t forget to check out the Whirling Dervish (Darvesh?) Dance (I watched the festival on TV – History channel) and the many fine rugs (noting the knots are different than other rugs from that outer areas) while you are there.

  3. I miss Turkey. I got tossed out on my ear for photographing the Ahmet Atakan protests and am never allowed back. I miss lots- my job my life my friends my tekel man etc. One thing I don’t miss is the rigidity of Turkish cuisine. There’s no fun and playfulness in cooking. I was once thoroughly scolded for adding cheese to a bulgur salad, since bulgur goes with YOĞURT, you stupid yabanci.

  4. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a
    little research on this. And he actually bought me dinner because I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this subject here
    on your web site.

  5. I am a (not)sketchy journalist based in Turkey. I write about food and want to profile the Kozmaoglu brothers. Could I ask you a few questions? If interested, you can reach me at riostlorena@utexas.edu

    Thanks and hope to hear back from you!

    Lorena R.

  6. So exciting! congrats Erdem!!! Have the best time. I can’t wait to hear about your inevitable love for yogurt when you get back.

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