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Marsel Delights

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From syrup-drenched baklava to creamy milk puddings, Turkey has no shortage of sweet treats. But perhaps none have intrigued foreign visitors to Turkey as much as Turkish delight.

Lokum is famous in the English-speaking world as the enchanted confection that entices Edmund to join the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but in reality, the sticky sweet has been enchanting audiences since it was first developed in the early 1800s. Dubbed “Turkish delight” by English traders, lokum inspired a wave of imitators across Europe.

“Lokum predates gummy sweets – gummy sweets were made trying to replicate Turkish delight. They didn’t know the secret ingredient, which is to manage the pH level,” says Selim Cenkel, founder and usta at Marsel Delights.

“I want to take Levantine sweets – to take the whole category – and put my spin on it,” Selim says. “Make it more contemporary.”

With tousled curls of salt-and-pepper hair and distinctive round-framed glasses, Selim looks the part of a theoretical physicist rather than a pastry chef. But the mad-scientist persona is perhaps an apt description for Selim’s unconventional if not idiosyncratic approach to flavor combinations. His flavor pairings include mastika with mulberry, pomegranate with cumin, and sour cherry with almond and cinnamon. The combination of acidity, sweetness, and spice, held together by that elusive elastic texture, creates a complex and tantalizing taste experience.

“I get inspired from different areas of Turkish cuisine – from pastry, ice cream, cevizli sucuk [a candy popular in Turkey and Georgia made from walnuts, grape juice and flour], ” he says. Even with classic lokum flavors , Selim finds a way to put his own twist on it. “I use lemon with pistachios. Anybody can make pistachio lokum. This is a little more avant garde,” he says.

Selim also finds inspiration from childhood memories growing up in Istanbul’s Sephardic community.

“On Büyükada, we used to go to this patisserie, they made a cookie with a lokum inside – sort of an empanada. Like a Sephardic take on a traditional Turkish delight,” says Selim. Even Marsel Delight’s name, taken from Selim’s grandfather, is a tribute to Istanbul’s often-hidden minority communities. “Istanbul has so many multicultural backgrounds,” Selim says, pointing to the fact that for centuries Sephardic merchants introduced new goods to the Ottoman Empire and, later, the Republic of Turkey. “This intrigues me. I want to put this idea at the heart of the brand.”

Although Selim credits his Sephardic community for his curiosity and entrepreneurial drive, he admits he approaches lokum as an outsider. Most legacy lokum brands in Turkey are family-owned businesses and notoriously secretive about their process.

When first learning how to make lokum, the texture also proved the hardest part to master for Selim. “I started from a very personal, naive point of view,” he said. “It was a lot of trial and error.” After struggling to capture the elusive perfect texture, Selim sought advice from seasoned lokum experts.

The veteran lokum makers recommended making the mixture more acidic. “Each recipe creates a different chemistry and you have to anticipate that,” Selim says. “I calculate volume, pH, saturation and brix levels.”

Currently, Selim and a small team are making Marsel’s lokum at Maide Mutfak, a sort of coworking commercial kitchen in the backstreets of Şişli.  Selim’s technical approach has produced lokum with a light, springy texture, but his avant garde flavors have elicited a range of reactions.

“When you play with tradition, it’s a double edged sword,” Selim says.  “We respect the tradition but this is our take.” For the fans of traditional Turkish delight, the reception has been mixed. “They don’t take it well. They’re like ‘don’t touch my traditional lokum’,” he says. But Selim is less interested in disrupting legacy Turkish delight companies than he is introducing lokum to new audiences.

“As a generation, we’ve wiped out lokum consumption,” he says. “No one buys lokum. They only eat it at bayram (religious holidays) in their family’s homes.” In contrast, Marsel Turkish delights has taken lokum to a more contemporary audience. In addition to the webstore, their fares can be found around Istanbul in third wave coffee shops like Kronotrop, menswear boutiques like Bey and esteemed restaurants like Pandeli.

A big draw for many younger consumers is Marsel’s approach to ingredients. Marsel Turkish delights are all-natural, gluten-free and only sweetened with unrefined sugars. “The main reason I use apple sugar is that it’s unrefined. Since it’s from fruit, it’s only fructose. It takes longer to metabolize,” says Selim. “I wanted to use less [sugar], in terms of taste perception.” Traditional lokum can be cloyingly sweet and dusted with powdered sugar, but Marsel opts to use different ingredients to coat his lokum, including spices and dehydrated fruits.

“When you play with tradition, it’s a double edge sword,” Selim says.  “We respect the tradition, but this is our take.”

For an exclusive flavor developed for Pandeli – a legendary Istanbul restaurant located on the second floor of the Spice Bazaar – Selim opted to dust the lokum in dried powdered apple. “I thought: ‘Let’s create a flavor that gets its inspiration from the Spice Bazaar,’” he says. “Clove, cinnamon and walnuts paired with dried apple powder around the lokum. It’s on the more traditional side. I think it plays well with the traditional setting of the restaurant.” The exclusive flavor is wrapped in a special package inspired by the restaurant’s iconic turquoise tiles.

Selim has also collaborated with specialty coffee roaster Kronotrop to make a coffee-infused Lokum, and is now developing a rakı-inspired flavor for Karaköy Lokantası. “In Turkish cuisine, food is a celebration. It’s a social event. It’s not something individualistic. It’s celebrated with rituals, good conversations, and company,” he says. “How does this ritual play into people’s consumption? It’s something they savor and enjoy when they slow down a bit.”

Although traditionalists might question whether 200 years of  Lokum tradition needed updating, for Selim, his lokum is an expression of his own identity.

“We are a product of this world: a synthesis of the different cultures of the east,” he says.

“It’s coming from me. Coming from who I am. This was the only logical angle I could find.”

The post Marsel Delights appeared first on Culinary Backstreets.

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The New Cookbook 1907 by Ohan Aşçıyan

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Mavi Boncuk |

The New Cookbook, written in Turkish with Armenian letters in Istanbul in 1907 by Ohan Aşçıyan[1], a publisher and cook, was one of the most popular books of the period. Dozens of dishes from soups to rice, from fried to steamed, from desserts to jellies are presented with extremely practical recipes in the study, which was published with the subtitle of "Turkish Alaturka and Alafranga". While Aşçıyan's ingredients, cooking methods and tips prove the original and creative table culture of a hundred years ago, the New Cookbook becomes an important cornerstone documenting our food history. 

Takouhi Tovmasyan's notes on Aşçıyan's text both enrich the book and connect it to the present. Tovmasyan sometimes gives tips to simplify the difficulties in recipes by facilitating today's reader's relationship with the book, sometimes he explains what can be used instead of an ingredient that can no longer be found today, sometimes he talks about a memory that Ohan Usta's recipes brought to mind, and turns the book into the living room of our homes. Colored by Hulusi Nusih Tütüncü's fresh and lively design, the New Cookbook is a work that should be in everyone's library and kitchen.

(From the Promotion Bulletin)



EXCERPT  "In addition to cookbooks written in Ottoman Turkish, Turkish cookbooks written in Armenian were also published in Istanbul in the late 19th century, including Yeni Yemek Kitabı ve Hamur İşleri (New Cookbook and Pastries) in 1871, Miftâhü’t-tabbâhîn in 1876, and İlaveli Yeni Yemek Kitabı (Supplementary New Cookbook)1 by Ohan Aşçıyan in 1889. The content of these books is similar to that of cookbooks published in Turkish. This similarity is not surprising, as the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities of Istanbul had been in constant contact throughout the centuries and by the 19th century shared a common cuisine. The most important differences within this cuisine were the result of religious prohibitions or rituals. Oil- and meat-free meals originally created for Christian fasts—including yalancı dolma (stuffed vegetables with olive oil), topik (a dish made of chickpeas, sesame paste, and onion), pilaki (vegetables, pulses, or seafood cooked in olive oil), papaz yahnisi (fish stew), and paskalya çöreği (Easter pastry)—eventually became part of the broader Istanbul cuisine. In contrast, some recipes created in the Jewish community—including patlıcanlı börek (pastry with eggplant puree), meatballs with leeks, and rockling fish cooked with sour plums (erikli gelincik balığı)—stayed within that community. Turkish cookbooks written in Armenian included European-style dishes like beef bourguignon, brioche, white mayonnaise, and sauerkraut with bratwurst, as well as new dishes reflecting a synthesis of Ottoman and European cuisines such as Aziziye’s pudding, Hünkâri sauce (hünkari salça), istakoz kıyması fırını (baked lobster mincemeat), and chocolate compote (hoşaf)."

Cookbooks in the Ottoman and Republican Periods...
Ozyegin University
School of Applied Sciences
Cookbooks written in the Ottoman period and the Republic of Turkey are important sources to understand the history of Turkish cuisine and its changing structure over time. These resources, which reflect the distinguished Ottoman culinary tradition based in Istanbul and the culinary culture of the Republican period, which is the extension of this tradition, exhibit a rich content for the researches to be made in the field of food history, food sociology, anthropology, in short, gastronomy in the geography of Turkey.
The first known food manuscript belonging to the Ottoman period is Kitabü't-Tabih, which was translated from Arabic to Turkish by the Ottoman physician Muhammed bin Mahmud Şirvani in the 15th century. While translating Kitabü't-Tabih, written by Baghdadi in the 13th century, Shirvani added recipes that were not found in the original (Argunşah 2005). Kitabü't- Tabih reveals the characteristics of the medieval Arab-Persian cuisine, which left important traces in the Ottoman-Turkish culinary tradition.
In addition, the eighty-odd recipes added by Şirvani reflect the Central Asian Turkish-Seljuk style, as in the example of mantı. The recipes in this book also contain features that reflect the medical understanding of the period (humoral medicine). The dishes in this book are included in the palace kitchen records and banquet lists from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries (Barkan 1979; Tezcan 1998; Yerasimos 2002; Reidl-Kiel 2003). Therefore, this food manuscript directly reflects the distinguished Ottoman culinary culture of the classical period.
Until the 18th century, a cookbook belonging to Ottoman cuisine was not brought to light by researchers. An 18th century treatise on food, estimated to have been written in 1764, was translated into modern Turkish in 1985 by Nejat Sefercioğlu. XVIII. This book, known as A Culinary Treatise of the Century, contains the basic recipes of Ottoman cuisine.
In addition, another food manuscript known as Ağdiye Risalesi, which has a similar content, may be the predecessor of this manuscript. (Özener 2015). Most of the recipes in these two cookbooks are also included in the cookbooks published in the 19th century.
The 19th century is a period when the Ottoman Palace and Istanbul cuisine were written down. The old-letter Turkish cookbooks published during this period reveal the colorful structure of Istanbul cuisine with countless traditional flavors bearing the traces of past centuries.
These cookbooks reflect the Ottoman Palace and Istanbul food culture, as well as the characteristics of the new European tastes and different community cuisines that were adopted in the 19th century. Over 40 Turkish cookbooks published in Arabic letters between 1844-1927 were identified by Turgut Kut, an Ottoman-Turkish cuisine researcher (Kut 1985). A dessert treatise (Et-Terkibât Fî Tabhi'l Hulviyyât) written at the beginning of the 19th century and brought into today's Turkish by Günay Kut, and the cookbook written in Edirne as Ali Eşref Dede's Food Risalei in the last period Ottoman period. It is among the cookbooks that reflect the culinary culture.
Between 1844-1900, four cookbooks with more than one edition were published in Istanbul. Melceü't-Tabbahin (Cooks' Shelter), written by Mehmet Kamil, one of the teachers of the School of Medicine, in 1844, is the first cookbook published in this period (Kut 1997). At the beginning of the book, the author mentions that he decided to write a cookbook in an attempt to revive old recipes that were forgotten and misapplied by the cooks of Istanbul. Cooks' Refuge is a very rich and important source book for Ottoman food culture with 273 recipes it contains. The book also served as a reference for other cookbooks published in the 19th century.
The New Cookbook, published in 1880, Housewife, published in 1883, and Chef Head, published in 1900, share common aspects with Cooks' Shelter. This book was also translated into English under the name of A Manual of Turkish Cookery by Türabi Efendi in London in 1864. When the two cookbooks are compared, it is seen that their contents are almost the same, except for a few differences. The Cooks' Refuge consists of thirteen sections: soups, kebabs, stews, pans, pastries made of dough, hot desserts made of dough, cold desserts, basmati, stuffed with olive oil and right oil, pilafs, compotes, desserts to be eaten before coffee and soft drinks, and in the margin of the book. Salad, Tarator, Pickle Recipes.
The new recipes of European origin included in the anonymous book, The New Cookbook, display the new European-style habits that were fashionable in elite circles in Istanbul at the end of the 19th century. The title of the book, its content and the information given by the author about why he wrote the book.

The new recipes of European origin included in the anonymous book, The New Cookbook, display the new European-style habits that were fashionable in elite circles in Istanbul at the end of the 19th century. The title of the book, its content and the information given by the author about why he wrote the book documents the changes in Istanbul cuisine between the 1850s and 1880s. The author says that he wrote this book to introduce cooking techniques that have changed compared to thirty years ago (Samancı 2017). Another cookbook, Ev Kadını, published in Istanbul in 1883, is another source showing that in the late 19th century, Westernization in Ottoman palace culinary culture was partially adopted by elite circles.
Its author, Ayşe Fahriye, states in the introduction that she wrote the book with the aim of teaching women cooking techniques, kitchen organization and serving methods. In the book, eight hundred and two recipes are given together with the basic principles of cooking, the arrangement of the kitchen and the pantry, the necessary kitchen and tableware, serving styles, table manners (Ayşe Fahriye 1883). Housewife reflects Turkish cuisine techniques and varieties with a rich content. In the book, there are recipes for soup, kebab, stew, meatballs, pilaki, börek, pilaf, stuffing, stuffing, moussaka, bastı, vegetable dishes such as olive oil, appetizers such as pickles, tarator, salad, and many desserts from murabba to baklava. Apart from traditional food types and techniques, tomato pastes (sauces), meat and fish jellies, boiled and cold cuts, garnishes, pates, ice creams, canned foods are the new European cooking techniques in the book. In Housewife, there are also recipes such as cheese ravioli "piruhi" and Circassian chicken, which came with the Caucasian and Rumelian immigrants who immigrated to Istanbul at the end of the 19th century.
Among the cookbooks published in Ottoman Turkish, Mahmut Nedim bin Tosun's book Aşçıbaşı, published in Istanbul in 1900, differs from other cookbooks in terms of its content. The author of the book, Mahmut Nedim bin Tosun, states that he wrote the book in order to relieve the trouble he and his comrades faced due to not knowing how to cook, during his years as an infantry chief. M. N. Tosun writes that he created his book by looking at previously written cookbooks and magazines. The book also includes some dishes that the author saw in places where he served in the military. For this reason, Aşçıbaşı tells not only the tastes of Istanbul cuisine, but also the dishes that are famous in different regions of Anatolia.
For example, he says that he cooks beans that he sees as a cubit long in Tunceli, that carrots are called "pörçüklü" in Harput, that he has not come across a tandoori in Rumeli, and that the "piran" kebab made in Bitlis and Muş provinces is very delicious. (Beam 1998). The local dishes that Tosun includes in the book mostly belong to the Eastern Anatolia region. Famous in Bitlis, Muş, Erzurum, Harput (Elazığ), Dersim, Çemişgezek (Tunceli), Diyarbakır, Kars regions, iron dessert, stuffed meatballs, test kebab, kelecoş (meal prepared with phyllo, minced meat, onion and dried fruit), tulumba dessert, büryan such as food and desserts are included in the book. Meals such as pan green pepper, luhum pilaf (serving small pieces of boiled cut dough with minced meat and little broth), horos fish salad, curd meatballs unique to the Mediterranean and Aegean Islands; The famous Turtle (eggplant dish) in Rumeli, the famous Turkish delight in Edirne; Bayburt's string halva; The famous forty-fold baklava of Damascus and Beirut are the dishes included in the book with their local names.
In the second half of the 19th century, apart from Ottoman Turkish cookbooks, Turkish cookbooks with Armenian letters were also published in Istanbul: The New Cookbook and Pastries in 1871, Miftahü't-Tabbahin in 1876, and Ohan Aşçıyan's New Meal with Addition in 1889. Book (Kut 1985). These books are similar to the cookbooks published in Ottoman Turkish in terms of content. In fact, this similarity should not be surprising since the food cultures of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities living in Istanbul have been in mutual exchange for centuries. 19th century Istanbul has a shared culinary culture rather than separate community kitchens.

The most important differences in this cuisine are the habits related to food, which emerged under the influence of religious prohibitions and rituals related to religion. For example, the examples of lean and meat-free meals developed by the Christian community under the influence of fasting periods. False stuffing, topik, pilaki, parsnip stew, Easter bun are examples of these dishes. These different dishes have merged in the common shared Istanbul culinary culture over time. However, some recipes specific to the Jewish community were limited within their own circles, such as eggplant fritters, leek meatballs, and poppy fish cooked with sour plums. In Turkish cookbooks with Armenian letters, burgundy stew, brioche, white mayonnaise, and this pork sausage with crouton are served with European delicacies; There are also new tastes such as Aziziye pudding, Hünkari tomato paste, lobster mince oven, chocolate compote, which reflect the synthesis of Turkish-Turkish cuisine (Samancı 2015).
The translations of two late period cookbooks written in Turkish with Armenian letters were also brought to the present day by Takuhi Tovmasyan in 2008 and 2010: The Cook's Book, written by Bogos Piranyan in 1914 in Merzifon, and the Perfect Cookbook, published in 1926. Alaturka-alafranga cuisine dilemma continues in Ottoman Turkish cookbooks published in the early 20th century. In the old-letter Turkish cookbook titled Aşçı Mektebi, published in 1920, mainly French dishes occupy a large place. Ahmet Şevket states that he wrote this book in consultation with the main chefs of Istanbul. In the book, examples of French cuisine such as “turkey alaflamand, galantine, foie gras with truffle, goose ragu, boiled turbot with sauce bechamel, sturgeon oven with sauce provenance, sauce hollandaise, filet milion with garlic” are included with rich Turkish recipes (Ahmet Şevket 1920). Mahmut Nedim bin Tosun's Home Chef or Perfect Cookbook, published in 1921 and 1927, also contains many foreign recipes.
Some of these recipes are written in both French and Turkish: potage à la royale- creamy bunion soup, potage Andaloue- tomato soup, asperges sauce Hollandaise- asparagus with tomato paste, filets sautés aux champignons- fried fillet with mushrooms (Tosun 1927).
The European table setting and manners, which started to become widespread in the city-centered Turkish culinary culture at the end of the 19th century during the Republican period, and with it, the use of new food techniques and materials in the kitchen gained momentum. The dichotomy of traditional cuisine (Turkish traditional cuisine) and modern (alafranga) cuisine in cookbooks is clearly observed in cookbooks published from the Republican period to the present day (Samancı 2014). Since the end of the 19th century, the approach aimed at teaching modern Ottoman women about housekeeping, table setting and European recipes through magazines, newspapers and books for women was crowned with books on cooking and girls' institutes with the Republic.
For example, as the name Fenn-i Tabahat (The Science of Cooking), published by Mehmet Reşat in 1921, can be understood, it constitutes one of the early examples reflecting a modern kitchen concept based on scientific and systematic information (Isin 2018). This book, which explains the kitchen and table setting and basic food information to future housewives rather than a recipe book, also introduces modern kitchen appliances such as cookers, scales, meat grinders. There are two of the most important best-seller publications among the cookbooks published in the Latin alphabet in the Republican period after the 1928 letter revolution. Fahriye Nedim's Perfect Cookbook for Alaturka and Alafranca, first published in 1933, and Ekrem Muhittin Yeğin's Alaturka and Alafranga Cookbook, published in 1944. New editions of these two books have continued to this day. Both authors also have books containing Turkish and European dessert recipes. Fahriye Nedim's cookbook is a book that appeals to the modern woman of the Republic, symbolizing that housekeeping and household economy are among the duties of women in the family.

Republic period cookbooks are publications that present the above-mentioned modern and modern cuisine teaching to the reader and at the same time reflect the Turkish-alafranga cuisine dilemma. These cookbooks include kebabs, stews, tirit, egg dishes, vegetable dishes such as moussaka, sitting, basmati, dolma, olive oil, rice and pastries, desserts with milk and syrup, sherbet and pickles, which are the extensions of traditional Ottoman food culture. While it includes recipes, it also includes new recipes, most of which are of French origin. Broths (broth), consomes, fish and sea bug soups, tomato paste (sauces), ragular, garnishes, purees, meat dishes such as cutlet, galantine, jigo, European desserts and candies, creams The European style in Fahriye Nedim's book Sample recipes. Names of dishes written in Turkish but pronounced in French, such as Konsome a la mari luiz, sos financier, and madelen, are also included in this book (Fahriye Nedim 1933).
Ekrem Muhittin Yeğin, who is a girls' evening art school teacher, has represented the classical examples of Turkish cuisine since 1944, when the food, dessert and table arrangement and etiquette books were first published.
The Turkish-alafranga kitchen dichotomy is also seen in Yegen's books. This book has long been an essential resource in every household where girls and women learn to cook. Yegen's books reflect the transformation and change of Turkish cuisine from the 1900s to the 1950s. On the one hand, traditional cooking techniques, recipes, dessert and pastry recipes, on the other hand, new cooking techniques, European dishes and desserts are included in these books. Roasting, grilling, kebab, frying and boiling as traditional methods in meat dishes, and European brezes, ragular, gratins and roti are given as techniques. Traditional vegetable dishes include basmati, sitting, moussaka, stuffing, shrugging, pan and olive oil. Consommés, tomato paste, omelet varieties, side dishes, gratins are examples of European dishes in the book. The word tomato paste is a term used instead of sauce.
Such as bechamel paste, mornay paste.. Consome is a name given to soups made with pure broth. In the book, there are Italian dishes such as risotto, ravioli, minestrone, and many French dishes such as onion soup, fuagra, chateaubrian, and turnedo (Yegen 1944). Milky desserts, ashura, semolina and flour halvah, flat bread and string kadaifs, pastry desserts with syrup, cookies, fruit desserts, jams and compotes form the Turkish cuisine recipes in Yeğin's book. In another book prepared on the basis of French pastry techniques, Yegen only deals with European dessert and pastry making techniques. Gatos (pastry), meringue dough, water dough (eclair dough), tart dough, roll dough, puff pastry (puff pastry), sponge cake, cakes, puff pastry, brioches and croissants, crepes, benyes (fried dough) are processed in the book as European dough techniques. . Creams, patamand (almond paste), supangle, parfait, creme caramel, pastry cream are examples of other desserts in the other book.

Since the end of the 19th century, the chefs working in the Ottoman palace and Istanbul mansions and restaurants learned French-style dishes, and in time, synthesis dishes emerged in the elite Istanbul cuisine. These dishes are new dishes in which Turkish and European cooking methods are used together. There are also examples of these flavors in Yeğin's book. Hünkar liked, kebab with cream, roast mutton, creamy meatballs, roast meatballs, sweet pastry with cream, baklava with cream, Turkish sponge cake, eggplant sitting with cream and whipped wire kadayif are examples of these dishes. Yegen's book is also important in that it contains ingredients such as margarine and tomato paste, which have become widespread in Turkish cuisine after the 1960s. The use of margarine varieties such as Sana and Vita and Tamek paste in late editions of the book indicates that the use of food industry products in Turkish cuisine has become widespread.
Cookbooks published in Turkey between 1960 and 1980 are similar to Yeğin's books in that they contain both traditional (Turkish Turkish) and European dishes. European dishes are now available in an adapted form in these books. These books were used as educational books in evening girls' art schools. For example, Tahire Gökalp, the cooking teacher of Kadıköy Girls' Art School, published the book Selected Foods in 1966; Just like the books of Leman Cılızoğlu Eryılmaz, Nutrition and Cooking Teacher of the Girls' High School of Arts, Cooking Basic Methods and Practices, Nutrition and Food Etiquette, the first edition of which was published in 1972.
Western-sourced basic cooking techniques and recipes were not only taught in girls' art schools and institutes, but also in the hotel, restaurant and restaurant industry, in a master-apprentice relationship. The first internationally known master chef of Turkish cuisine, Necip Ertürk, in his book titled Turkish Cuisine Art, published in 1971, proves how much French-origin cooking techniques and practices were internalized in the professional kitchen world of the period in Turkey.
The European style in Turkish cuisine, which developed as a city centre, continued in the following years. Over time, European dishes and desserts such as mashed potatoes, zucchini aubergines, steak with tomato paste, eclairs, cakes and cakes were accepted and added to the Turkish culinary culture. Since the Republican era, a synthesis of Turkish and European cuisine has come to life in the restaurant and restaurant culture that has developed especially in cities such as Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. It is not possible to say that European dishes lead to the oblivion of traditional dishes.
Because traditional and new dishes have always been found together, and a synthesis cuisine has emerged, as in the example of Hünkar liked with bechamel paste. In fact, since the 1880s, mostly French cuisine origin food and dessert recipes have started to be recognized in the elite Istanbul cuisine, but the process of incorporation into Turkish cuisine was completed in the 20th century. While this change can be observed especially in the developing Turkish cuisine based in Istanbul, it has not reached every region of Turkey. Local cuisine traditions in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Aegean, Southern and Eastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia and Marmara regions continued largely unchanged until the 1980s.

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Ozge SAMANCI, Assoc. Dr., Özyeğin University, School of Applied Sciences, Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts, Çekmeköy Campus, Nişantepe Mah. Orman Sok. 34794 Cekmekoy, Istanbul.
E-mail: ozge.samanci@ozyegin.edu.tr ORCID: 0000-0001-6539-8468.

İLAVELİ YENİ YEMEK KİTABI Alaturka ve Alafranga Aşcılara ve Ev Kadınlara Makhsus Naşiri: Ohan Aşcyan Maarif Nezareti Celilesinin 255 numerolu ve fi 7 Eylül 322 [1906] tarihlu ruhsatnamesiyle tab olunmuşdur Kütübkhanei Aşciyan Isdambol1907

NEW MEAL BOOK WITH ADDITIONS Alaturka and Alafranga for Cooks and Housewives  Publisher: Ohan Aşcyan is subject to the license of the Ministry of Education with the number 255 and dated 7 September 322 [1906]Kütübkhanei Aşciyan Isdambol1907

[1] OHAN AŞÇIYAN was born in Istanbul in 1857. His real name is Hovhannes/Ohannes. He opened bookstores in Istanbul Eminönü; He published books on religion, law, language and literature. He published the New Cookbook in 1907 from the Aşçıyan Kitaphanesi (Çakmakçiler Yokuşu, No: 29), which he owned. He died in Beyoğlu on April 8, 1913. He was buried in Şişli Armenian Cemetery on April 10. According to cemetery records, his father's name was Garabed and he had a daughter named Satenik. 

Armenian History with Illustrated Map Aşçıyan Bookstore
[2] TAKUHİ TOVMASYAN was born in Yedikule, Istanbul. He learned to cook at a young age. His book, "Your Table is Şen Olsun", in which he blended his knowledge on this subject with the story of his family, attracted great attention. He translated Boğos Piranyan's The Cook's Book from Armenian to Turkish and transcribed Vaginag Pürad's The Perfect Cookbook in Turkish with Armenian letters. He lives in Istanbul and Bodrum.

" 25 years ago, they told me to write down our table conversations and their tastes, so that they are not lost, everyone should read them. I wrote too. I took a notebook and told what was left in my mind and on my palate from my grandmother's kitchen, as I felt, how we talk and tell. It was easy. I was going to leave our family legacy in writing to my children, bitter and sweet. You know, if there are recipe notebooks left by mothers and grandmothers, there would be such notebooks in the houses of my children and loved ones. It was completely special for us, I was going to tell my children, nephews and future grandchildren about the meals cooked in our house and most importantly, I would like to talk about our table conversations... However, that book that can be found in every house became a book in 2004 with the name of Sofranız Şen Olsun | Let Your Table Be Cheerful, it was loved very much and I suddenly had dozens of books. I became a very rich mother with children and grandchildren. I cannot describe this wealth with words or numbers. Sofranız Şen Olsun has entered many homes, restaurant menus, and people's worlds. Thanks to the book, I met many beautiful people, I was a guest at many beautiful tables. For the sake of the book, people started to get my opinion on food-related issues, to ask for my opinion, and to invite me to seminars. I tried to help, to convey what I know, without turning down any request or question as much as I could. 

In the meantime, I contributed to two more cookbooks published by Aras Publishing after Sofraniz Şen Olsun. In 2008, I translated Merzifon American College Chef Boğos Piranyan's work entitled The Cook's Book from Armenian to Turkish. The original edition of this book was made in 1914. In 2010, I translated Vaginag Pürad's Perfect Cookbook, first published in 1926, from Turkish with Armenian letters to Turkish with Latin letters. 

Now, we are producing a cookbook that is older than these two books, which was published as far back as 1907. Our friends at Aras asked me to write notes on the recipes in the New Cookbook, whose translation was undertaken by Arsen Kocaoğlu. Sometimes to adapt a recipe that is no longer applicable today, sometimes to suggest what we can use instead of an ingredient that is no longer available, and sometimes just to underline the aspects of the recipe that are interesting to me. Thus, we would update the book for today's readers and make it easier to use today. Honestly, my job was more difficult this time, because 111 years later, I would have commented on what Chef Ohan Aşcıyan (Usta) wrote, true to his name. I assumed this responsibility, terrified that I would do something stupid. While I was doing it, I was worried on the one hand, and on the other hand, I enjoyed it very much. I hope I did my duty in justice."

Glossary 1907

adi: basit, sade

akalli: en az

ale’d-devam: devamlı

ameliyat: işlem

arz: genişlik

atide: aşağıda

bekaça: suçulluğu

bervechi bâlâ: yukarıda olduğu gibi

beyzi: oval

cirm: büyüklük

çıngıl: üzüm salkımı üzerindeki


devrim: tur, kere

domuzelması: domalan, yermantarı

efkârındayım: fikrindeyim

ehemm u elzem: önemli ve gerekli

elmastıraş: kristal

eyyam: süre

galantin: soğuk et peltesi

habbe: tane

halletmek: eritmek

hamayili: çarpazlama

ihata etmek: kuşatmak, sarmak

iktiza: lüzum, gerekimdi: o halde

imtizaçlı: uyumlu

istiap etmek: içine almak

istimal etmek: kullanmak

kaçarola: kasrol, saplı küçük tencere

kâmilen: tümden

kardinal lokması: kümes hayvanlarının


karlık: eski usül soğutucu

kef: köpük

kemâfissabık: daha önce bahsedildiği


kesp etmek: kazanmak, edinmek

khardala: kıkırdak

kirş: kiraz likörü, kirsch

kıtkıtlamak: tıkırdamak

kotarmak: başka kaba aktarmak,


kösteklemek: sicimle bağlamak

kuşane: yayvan küçük tencere

kutr: çap

lardilemek: domuz içyağıyla

(Fransızca “lard”) sıvamak

leğenli dolap: döner dolabı

maada: başka, gayrı

mağmağ: küle gömülmüş ateş


maiyet: eşlik, yan

makamında: şeklinde, tarzında

malez: un, su ve yumurtayla

hazırlanan bir karışım

marasken: bir tür kiraz likörü,


mastika: sakız rakısı

medar: yardımcı

mehmâemken: olabildiği kadar,

mümkün mertebe

mereng: beze, meringue

mezkûr: sözü edilen

misillü: benzeri

mübaşeret: başlamak

müdevver: yuvarlak

müreccah: tercih edilen

müsavi: eşit

mütemadi: sürekli

mütevakkıf: bağlı

nısf: yarı

oturum: büyüklük

parmecyana: parmesan [peyniri]

pürhassa: pırasa

razakı: kuru üzüm

resm: görünüm, şekil

rey: zevk

rub: dörtte bir

salça: sos

salmi: yahni

sâniyen: ikinci olarak

şavk resminde: güneş ışınları şeklinde,


savurmak: çırpmak, unu topaklanmaması için havalandırmak

sülüs: üçte bir

süt imanı: pişmiş sütün üzerine çıkan


taam: yiyecek

tapyoka: bir tür nişasta, tapioca

tavlı: 1. tuzlanıp kurutulmuş

 2. yoğun, katı 3. ısıtılmış

tebdil olmak: değişmek, rengi dönmek

tekmilen: tamamen

teşrinievvel: ekim

tezyin etmek: süslemek

tirfil: dilimler halinde

tirkos: taze sardalye

tül: uzunluk

vadi: tarz

vaz etmek: koymak

vüsat: genişlik

zammetmek: eklemek

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'It's the Freedom for Me': Brands Have Already Ruined Juneteenth

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America loves to co-opt a revolution and sell it back to people like they’re doing us a favor, which is I guess why we’re now seeing “Juneteenth” branded party napkins on shelves with cutesy sayings like “It’s the freedom for me.” Really, y’all? What in the name of Kwanzaa is this?


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“Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting,” Ten Years On

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John Scalzi

Ten years ago this week I thought I would write a piece to offer a useful metaphor for straight white male privilege without using the word “privilege,” because when you use the word “privilege,” straight white men freak out, like, I said then, “vampires being fed a garlic tart.” Since I play video games, I wrote the piece using them as a metaphor. And thus “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is” was born and posted.

And blew up: First here on Whatever, where it became the most-visited single post in the history of the site (more than 1.2 million visits to date), and then when it was posted on video gaming site Kotaku, where I suspect it was visited a multiple number of times more than it was visited here, because Kotaku has more visitors generally, and because the piece was heavily promoted and linked there. 

The piece received both praise and condemnation, in what felt like almost equal amounts (it wasn’t; it’s just the complainers were very loud, as they often are). To this day the piece is still referred and linked to, taught in schools and universities, and “living on the lowest difficulty setting” is used as a shorthand for the straight white male experience, including by people who don’t know where the phrase had come from.

(I will note here, as I often do when discussing this piece, that my own use of the metaphor was an expansion on a similar metaphor that writer Luke McKinney used in a piece on Cracked.com, when he noted that “straight male” was the lowest difficulty setting in sexuality. Always credit sources and inspirations, folks!)

In the ten years since I’ve written the piece, I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, the response to it, and whether the metaphor still applies. And so for this anniversary, here are some further thoughts on the matter.

1. First off: Was the piece successful? In retrospect, I think it largely was. One measure of its success, as noted above, is its persistence; it’s still read and talked about and taught and used. Anecdotally, I have hundreds of emails from people who used it to explain privilege to others and/or had it used to explain privilege to them, and who say that it did what it was meant to do: Get through the already-erected defenses against the word “privilege” and convey the concept in an interesting and novel manner. So: Hooray for that. It is always good to be useful.

2. That said, Upton Sinclair once wrote that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” In almost exactly the same manner, it is difficult to get a straight white man to acknowledge his privileges when his self-image depends on him not doing so. Which is to say there is a very large number of straight white men who absolutely do not wish to acknowledge just how thoroughly and deeply their privileges are systemically embedded into day-to-day life. A fair number of this sort of dude read the piece (or more perhaps more accurately, read the headline, since a lot of their specific complaints about the piece were in fact addressed in the piece itself) and refused to entertain the notion there might be something to it. Which is their privilege (heh), but doesn’t make them right.

But, I mean, as a straight white dude, I totally get it! I also work hard and make an effort to get by, and in my life not all the breaks have gone my way. I too have suffered disappointment and failure and exclusion and difficulty. In the context of a life where people who are not straight white men are perhaps not in your day-to-day world view, except as abstractions mediated by television or radio or web sites, one’s own struggles loom large. It’s harder to conceive of, or sympathize with, the idea that one’s own struggles and disappointments are resting atop of a pile of systemic privilege — not in the least because that implicitly seems to suggest that if you can still have troubles even with those many systemic advantages, you might be bad at this game called life.

But here’s the thing about that. One, just because you can’t or won’t see the systemic advantages you have, it doesn’t mean you don’t still have them, relative to others. Two, it’s a reflection of how immensely fucked up the system is that even with all those systemic advantages, lots of straight white men feel like they’re just treading water. Yes! It’s not just you! This game of life is difficult! Like Elden Ring with a laggy wireless mouse and a five-year-old graphics card! And yet, you are indeed still playing life on the lowest difficulty setting! 

Maybe rather than refusing to accept that other people are playing on higher difficulty settings, one should ask who the hell decided to make the game so difficult for everyone right out of the box (hint: they’re largely in the same demographic as straight white men), and how that might be changed. But of course it’s simply just easy to deny that anyone else might have a more challenging life experience than you have, systemically speaking. 

3. Speaking of “easy,” one of the problems that the piece had is that when I wrote the phrase “lowest difficulty,” lots of people translated that to “easy.” The two concepts are not the same, and the difference between the two is real and significant. Which is, mind you, why I used the phrase “lowest difficulty” and not “easy.” But if you intentionally or unintentionally equate the two, then clearly there’s an issue to be had with the piece. I do suspect a number of dudes intentionally equated the two, even when it was made clear (by me, and others) they were not the same. I can’t do much for those dudes, then or now.

4. When I wrote the piece, some folks chimed in to say that other factors deserved to be part of a “lowest difficulty setting,” with “wealth” being primary among them. At the time I said I didn’t think wealth should have been; it’s a stat in my formulation — hugely influential, but not an inherent feature of identity like being white, or straight, or male. This got a lot of pushback, in no small part because (and relating to point two above) I think a lot of straight white dudes believed that if wealth was in there, it would somehow swamp the privileges that being white and straight and male provide, and that would mean that everyone else’s difficulty setting was no more difficult than their own.

It’s ten years on now, and I continue to call bullshit on this. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and I’ve been in the middle, and in all of those economic states I still had and have systemic advantages that came with being white and straight and male. Yes, being wealthy does make life less difficult! But on the other hand being wealthy (and an Oscar winner) didn’t keep Forest Whitaker from being frisked in a bodega for alleged shoplifting, whereas I have never once been asked to empty my pockets at a store, even when (as a kid, and poor as hell) I was actually shoplifting. This is an anecdotal observation! Also, systemically, wealth insulates people who are not straight and white and male less than it does those who are. Which means, to me, I put it in the right place in my formulation.

5. What would I add into the inherent formulation ten years on? I would add “cis” to “straight” and “white” and “male.” One, because I understand the concept better than than I did in 2012 and how it works within the matrix of privilege, and two, in the last decade, more of the people I know and like and love have come out as being outside of standard-issue cis-ness (or were already outside of it when I met them during this period), and I’ve seen directly how the world works on and with them. 

So, yes: Were I writing that piece for the first time in 2022, I would have written “Cis Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.” 

6. Ten years of time has not mitigated the observation about who is on the Lowest Difficulty Setting, especially here in the United States. Indeed, if anything, 2022 in the US has been about (mostly) straight white men nerfing the fuck out of everyone else in the land in order to maintain their own systemic advantages. Oh, you’re not white? Let’s pass laws to make sure an accurate picture of your historical treatment is punted out of schools and libraries, and the excuse we’ll give is that learning these things would be mean to white kids. You’re LGBTQ+? Let’s pass laws so that a teacher even mentioning you exist could get them fired. Trans? Let’s take away your rights for gender-affirming medical treatment. Have functional ovaries? We’re planning to let your rapist have more say in what happens to your body than you! Have a blessed day!

And of course hashtag not all straight white men, but on the other hand let’s not pretend we don’t know who is largely responsible for this bullshit. The Republican party of the United States is overwhelmingly straight, overwhelmingly white, and substantially male, and here in 2022 it is also an unabashedly white supremacist political party, an authoritarian party and a patriarchal party: mainstream GOP politicians talk openly about the unspeakably racist and anti-Semitic “Great Replacement Theory,” and about sending people who have abortions to prison, and are actively making it more difficult for minorities to vote. It’s largely assumed that once the conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court (very likely as of this writing) throws out Roe v. Wade, it’ll go after Obergefell (same-sex marriage) as soon as a challenge gets to them, and then possibly Griswold (contraception) and Loving (mixed-race marriage) after that. Because, after all, why stop at Roe when you can roll civil rights back to the 1950s at least?

What makes this especially and terribly ironic is that when game designers nerf characters, they’re usually doing it to bring balance to the game — to put all the characters on something closer to an even playing field. What’s happening here in 2022 isn’t about evening up the playing field. It’s to keep the playing field as uneven as possible, for as long as possible, for the benefit of a particular group of people who already has most of the advantages. 2022 is straight white men employing code injection to change the rules of the game, while it’s in process, to make it more difficult for everyone else. 

So yes, ten years on, the Lowest Difficulty Setting still applies. It’s as relevant as ever. And I’m sure, even now, a bunch of straight white men will still maintain it’s still not accurate. As they would have been in 2012, they’re entirely wrong about that. 

And what a privilege that is: To be completely wrong, and yet suffer no consequences for it. 

— JS

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6 days ago
Both this essay and the one it’s referencing should be required reading. I use this metaphor a whole lot.
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On becoming Belgian after Brexit

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Having settled in Brussels after three decades reporting about the broader Middle East, Hugh Pope is preparing for publication “The Keys to Democracy,” a book written by his late father and classicist Maurice Pope.

In April, the postman pushed a letter through my door in Brussels, creasing it from the strong spring behind the old brass letter flap. It still didn’t spoil the clear and formal message. 

“A change of nationality has been written into the registers of the state,” the stamped and signed letter informed me. “Please make an appointment with the commune to pick up your Belgian identity card.” 

I felt a surge of relief, a sense of safe haven in my current home. And just as importantly, I felt I could now be British and European again. 

On June 24, 2016, I had woken up a citizen of the United Kingdom, entitled to live and work in Belgium and 26 other European Union countries. But when I switched on the television, BBC presenters were stumbling over the news that more than half of Britons had voted for Brexit. For years after, people in my position could never be quite sure what rights the bruising negotiations would leave us with. What would happen if we lost our jobs? 

I had arrived in Belgium just a year earlier in 2015 and had been overjoyed when my Brussels commune quickly, and automatically, gave me a five-year work and residence permit. It felt like my British identity had at last given me full membership to a real international club. 

Living and working in Turkey and several Middle Eastern countries during the three previous decades, I had struggled to win or renew my residence papers, which could sometimes be valid for as little as three months. A treasured Syrian permit took me a year to get, by which time it had nearly expired. And Britain’s imperial forays in the region meant officials’ reactions to my passport ranged from skeptical to downright hostile.  

By comparison, Belgium just wanted me to be patient. It has no U.K.-style citizenship test on medieval battle dates, prime ministers’ names or 200-year-old poems. I didn’t have to dig up a list of English relatives who had fought on Belgium’s side in European wars to boost my case. All I had to do was work for five straight years, pay my taxes, supply a birth certificate, state that I wanted citizenship and pledge to submit to the Belgian constitution, the country’s laws and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.  

I still wanted to do something to backfill a sense of belonging, though, so I started tuning into an amateur podcast called the Random History of Belgium. Host Manuel van den Eynde explained how the field of battle in many European wars turned Belgium into Europe’s crossroads, why Brussels ended up as Europe’s capital and how one third of the population of the city was born in another country, like me. 

Individualistic Belgians have been inventive, he related: think Bakelite, electric trams, speech recognition, the beauties of art nouveau, and some of the world’s most uncompromising modern buildings. He urged me on through the nearly 140 episodes with gently ironic humor, sips from a parade of powerful Belgian beers and the catchphrase: “Keep eating the waffles!” 

All this is helping me construct a new kind of plural identity. It’s quite different from being a full European just because I was British.

It had grated at me that ahead of Britain actually leaving the EU at the end of 2021, podcasts and websites began to include sophisticated ads from the British government, cleverly targeted at people like me, telling me what I had to do next. The intention behind them was good, but it felt off-key. Hundreds of thousands of U.K. citizens living in Europe hadn’t been offered a say in the — as it seemed to us — deeply flawed referendum that had cost us so much. So why the sudden concern? We knew, in fact, that we were on our own. 

Real decisions have real consequences. The brand value of being British has tanked, and high-flying British friends in Brussels report that headhunters no longer call. The public lies and insults of the Brexit campaign broke the magic spell of association with what had been seen as an example of stylish cool, democratic depth and prestigious world power. The shame of salary-drawing British members of the European Parliament standing with their backs to their colleagues while the EU anthem played still stings.

British citizens who were working in the official European circuit at the time were damned whether they jumped ship or not. High-ranking British officials had to choose between leaving, angling for passports from other EU countries, suffering long furloughs or losing access to posts with operational meaning. Some who went back to London said they found themselves working for ideologues, strictly instructing them to act nasty when negotiating future relationships with their former EU colleagues and friends — the Europeans began responding in kind. “My counterparts tell me that I can travel to Brussels if I like, but that they won’t be able to see me,” one British official lamented. 

In 2021, at a reception run with the engaging professionalism of U.K. diplomats in a colonnaded room of the British ambassador’s residence in Brussels, the British almost outnumbered the guests, even as the pandemic kept numbers down. U.K. representatives have little realistic chance of influencing much European policy anymore. And in the world of Europe-based policy organizations, London offices have thinned out and visits to Britain have shrunk in frequency and importance.  

Many little things have changed too. I’ve stopped ordering anything from U.K. online shops. Posting or receiving anything to the U.K. that remotely resembles a package now faces an automatic €23 charge — and that’s before the cost of postage or new customs levies. And even before the pandemic hit Brussels-London traffic on the Eurostar, boarding had started to involve passport and luggage checks worthy of an airport compared to the no-hassle, direct access to platforms for trains bound for France, Germany or the Netherlands.  

The web of connections will only continue to turn threadbare. U.K. students can no longer join Erasmus exchanges with European universities; U.K. job seekers usually can’t get entry-level jobs, and the new barriers will make them even less competitive. 

English does remain an official EU language — with Ireland and Malta as members — and it’s still the most prominent medium of communication in the EU bubble. Generations of Europeans grew up under American dominance, and French or German are not natural second languages for the Eastern European countries that joined the bloc two decades ago. But French is making a comeback, and German-born officials are feeling a wind in their sails. “Our reaction to the Ukraine war made us realize how everything feels different. We now feel really empowered as Europeans,” a German Eurocrat told me. 

“It’s not just the policy change in Berlin,” he added. “It’s the absence of the U.K., which used to trip us up every time we wanted to do something together.”

Old-school British policy supposedly feels safer when Europeans are divided. And NATO membership or not, all the signs point to the fact that the U.K.’s lack of EU membership undermines its leverage, whether London wants to sow division or build unity.

But be that as it may, the part of Brexit I never understood is the idea of “just wanting to get Britain out of Europe.” To me, that sounds like asking water not to feel wet.

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Sen. Bill Cassidy: Louisiana's Maternal Mortality Rate Is Only Bad If You Include Black Women

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Louisiana has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country: It ranks 47th out of the 48 states assessed, according to state officials. But U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, one of two white male Republican senators representing the state, says that’s only because Louisiana’s statistics include Black women.


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