Great Foodie Destinations 2016 – Antalya, Turkey


Eats, Antalya, Turkey, NatGeo

Antalya, Turkey

Photograph by Tueremis, laif/Redux

Thanks to periods of both Christian and Muslim rule until the 15th century, the cuisine of beachside Antalya blends influences from both cultures. Surrounded by the snowcapped Taurus Mountains, the city also boasts nearby olive groves, citrus orchards, and fresh seafood pulled from the turquoise Mediterranean Sea.

Tourists dine seaside on fish kebabs, octopus, and plates of colorful mezze. With a large variety of both casual lokantas and upscale restaurants, Antalya is the ideal location for hosting this year’s Expo 2016, which covers horticulture, agriculture, and other topics. More than five million visitors are expected to attend.

What to Eat: Experience Turkish flavors in European dishes at Vanilla Lounge. The restaurant serves white bean and tahini soup and lamb, mint, and pea risotto in a sophisticated setting. For more traditional fare, seek out grouper kebabs or fried red mullet from the Mediterranean—usually available between July and October—at seaside restaurant İskele. Complete the meal with a round of mezze plates like hummus, red pepper spread, or purslane salad.

What to Drink: Raki, an anise-flavored brandy that is quite similar to Greek ouzo, is Turkey’s favorite drink. It turns cloudy when mixed with water or ice, and it’s typically consumed with a meal of mezze and grilled fish. There’s no better place to try it than at one of Antalya’s oldest restaurants like 7 Mehmet, a waterfront spot specializing in seafood.

Edible Souvenir: Jams are a key component of lavish Turkish breakfasts, and Antalya and the surrounding region are particularly well known for making the sweet spreads. Visit Yenigun, one of the country’s biggest producers, for a huge selection of jams in unique flavors like eggplant, watermelon, and rose.

Food Experience: Try catching some seafood of your own with Green Canyon boat tours. The tour company provides all of the equipment for the fishing expeditions around the emerald waters, located about ten miles from Antalya.

courtesy of:



On The Menu, First Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving DinnerA, 1st, NatGeo-crop
The feast, held in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, was very different from the Thanksgiving dinner that we enjoy today. It went on for three whole days, and the colonists and their Native guests probably didn’t sit at a table or use forks. Staples of modern Thanksgiving—like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce—weren’t even served.

So what did they eat? While nobody knows the full menu, based upon various sources, it’s possible at least to make some educated guesses.

  1. Goose and duck. Edward Winslow, a colonial leader, wrote a 1621 letter in which he described how Gov. William Bradford had sent four men out to hunt for fowl for the feast. Though the letter doesn’t specify which birds, Nathaniel Philbrick, author of “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War,” notes that migratory geese and ducks were plentiful in the area during the autumn, so it seems likely that they were among the foods served.
  2. Venison. We definitely know that this meat was served at the first Thanksgiving feast. The Native American guests at the feast—who actually outnumbered the Pilgrims—brought along with them five deer, according to Winslow.
  3. Fish. In the autumn, striped bass, bluefish and cod were abundant in local waters, according to Philbrick, and he thinks they may have been eaten that day.
  4. Turkey. In a 1621 letter, Bradford commented on the “great store of wild turkeys” that the colonists had hunted. So it seems possible, or even likely, that turkey was on the menu, even though Winslow didn’t specifically mention it in his description of the event. Turkey already was a popular gourmet food on the other side of the Atlantic, ever since Spanish conquerors returned in the early 1500s with birds that had been domesticated by the Aztecs.
  5. Lobster and mussels. In Winslow’s letter, he describes the local abundance of these aquatic animals as well, so it’s conceivable that they were on the menu.
  6. Stew. The colonists liked to make what they called pottages, in which various meats and vegetables were tossed in, according to Philbrick.
  7. Beer. The Pilgrims liked beer, which they brought with them on the Mayflower. The 1621 harvest had yielded a crop of barley, which for the first time made it possible for the colonists to make their own home brew, according to Philbrick.
  8. Cornbread. The colonists had just harvested their initial corn crop, so it would have been appropriate to include it on the menu. But it wasn’t the sweet yellow corn that we serve today as a side dish. Instead, they raised Indian corn, which was dried and pounded into meal for baking.
  9. Pumpkin. While the Pilgrims didn’t make pumpkin pies, it’s conceivable that they served stewed pumpkin or bread made from pumpkin and corn meal, both of which were eaten by colonists, according to Alice Morse Earle’s 1898 book “Home Life in Colonial Days.”
  10. Squash. This was another crop from the 1621 harvest, so it may have been served at the feast as well. The Native American style of preparation was to boil or roast it.

courtesy of:

Half of All Languages Come From This One Root Tongue

What do Spanish, Hindi and English all have in common? They all descended from the same mother tongue: Anatolian, or more commonly Proto-Indo-European.

In fact, there’s about a 50 percent chance that any given person speaks a language from the Indo-European family, as Shoaib Daniyal recently reported for Quartz. Indo-European languages, a family that includes about half the languages spoken today. But there are still a lot of questions about who founded that original tongue, and when, and how it spread. Linguists do know that Proto-Indo-European was a language unique to a tribal culture in ancient Eurasia. They know that these ancient humans only spoke their language, they never wrote it down, and today it’s extinct. (Of course, that hasn’t stopped linguists from trying to reconstruct the language.) But they don’t know exactly when and where the language truly began, or how it came to birth so many of our modern tongues.

Under one hypothesis, the ancestral tongue is 6,000 years old. It originated among tribal nomads on the Pontic Steppe, at the intersection of Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. These nomads had significant military prowess and had domesticated horses. Such innovative feats allowed them to spread their language by travel and conquest.

Evolutionary biologists recently usurped this nomadic theory. In 2012, a team from the University of Auckland in New Zealand estimated that Proto-Indo-European is even older, perhaps originating 8,000 to 9,500 years ago. As for its geographic origins, they pointed to Anatolia, or modern day Turkey. By their account, the first speakers practiced animal domestication and agriculture. As these practices spread, so did their language.

Women Challenging Rules, Changing History

Sabiha Gökçen of Turkey poses with her plane, in 1937 she became the first female fighter pilot.

Sabiha Gökçen, Turkey, first female fighter pilot

Holiday Dinner Food Factoids

TV Dinners Came From Thanksgiving Leftovers: 

C.A. Swanson & Sons food company had so much overstocked turkey meat left after Thanksgiving in Nov 1953, they didn’t know what to do with their 260 tons of leftover turkey.  So, the company asked their employees the question:  What can they do with the leftover bird meat?

As the story goes, Gerry Thomas was a Swanson & Sons salesperson who often flew to his clients locations around the country.  Upon receiving his airline food tray with a pre-packaged meal warmed in the airplane galley, he had an epiphany ….. pre-packaged turkey meals sold to the general public in grocery stores year ’round.  A marketing campaign was launched by Swanson & Sons focusing on the latest American obsession, TV, and whoopee, the TV dinner was born.  Within one year, the company had sold 10 million TV dinners.  Today, that one idea has evolved into a multi-billion dollar food industry of frozen, heat & serve dinners, side dishes & desserts!

Slight Nutritional Differences Between Light and Dark Meat Turkey:

A big difference between light and dark meat is a compound called myoglobin. Muscles need Myoglobin to transport oxygen and thus is found more abundantly in very active muscles.  Because turkeys walk a great deal in foraging for food, they have much more myoglobin in the leg and thigh muscles.

Dark meat also has about double the amount of fat as the lighter breast meat and contains saturated fat (which the  lighter breast meat does not).  However, it is still low in overall fat content when compared to other meats, but is also slightly higher in both saturated fat and calories than breast meat. By replacing dark meat with light breast meat, you could save as much as 45 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat per serving, although  the you would then have less of several nutrients including B6, B12, iron and zinc that dark meat is richer in.

Closest Genetic Relative To Cranberry Is Blueberry:

Believe it or not, blueberries are the closest relatives to cranberries. Both are species of the genus Vaccinium and both are native to North America while containing high levels antioxidants called flavonoids and are rich in vitamin C.  Of the roughly 400 million pounds of cranberries consumed by Americans each year, 80 million pounds, or 20 percent, are eaten the week of Thanksgiving.

In 1550, James White Norwood made reference to [North American] Indians using cranberries. In James Rosier’s book “The Land of Virginia” there is an account of Europeans coming ashore and being met with Indians bearing bark cups full of cranberries.  In the 1640 “Key Into the Language”, Roger Williams described cranberries, referring to them as “bearberries” because bears ate them. In 1663, the Pilgrim cookbook appears with a recipe for cranberry sauce.

A Yam Is Not A Yam?

What we call a “yam” in America is actually a sweet potato!  We Americans call the orange-fleshed variety of tubers  “yams” and the paler versions “sweet potatoes”, in reality, they’re all sweet potatoes.  And, true yams are tropical tubers that typically have a black, bark-like skin and pale flesh.

In certain parts of the world, sweet potatoes are locally known by other names. In New Zealand English, the Māori term kumara is commonly used. Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often called a “yam” in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam (Dioscorea), which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae.  To add to the confusion, a different crop plant, the oca, Oxalis tuberosa (a species of woodbind), is called a “yam” in many parts of Polynesia, including New Zealand.  To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as “yams” to also be labeled as “sweet potatoes”.

courtesy of:  RealtorPeg