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x0x A taste to make you melt: Ice Cream

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  • Turkish Culture List
    [See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://turkradio.us/k/dondurma/ ] x0x A taste to make you melt: Ice Cream By
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2009
      [See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://turkradio.us/k/dondurma/ ]

      x0x A taste to make you melt: Ice Cream


      Whether it originated in the Far East or the
      Middle East remains a mystery, but one thing is
      sure: ice cream is an all-time favorite with
      people from seven to seventy.

      It used to be one of the main harbingers of
      summer. When the ice cream vendor passed our door
      and we children were fluttering around him like
      moths around a flame, we knew that summer had
      finally come.

      Don't bite it, eat it slowly or you'll get sick,
      our mothers would yell from the windows. And don't
      forget to drink some water when you're finished.
      Nowadays everyone from kids to old-timers consumes
      it summer and winter: ice cream.


      The history of ice cream, to which almost all of
      us have been addicted since childhood and which is
      now a year-round treat, is shrouded in the distant
      past... We say shrouded because there are so many
      versions of the story. According to historians,
      ice cream first appeared as a sweet made by
      flavoring the snow and ice stored in cellars with
      fruit or molasses. In some sources the first such
      ice cellars are encountered near the banks of the
      Euphrates in Mesopotamia where the inhabitants
      consumed fresh snow brought down from the
      mountains after mixing it with fruit and honey.
      This was perhaps the forerunner of the delicate
      sorbets served between courses in French cuisine
      today. In terms of technique anyway the making of
      sorbet is similar to that of ice cream. In western
      sources, the development of sorbet is said to have
      been inspired by the fresh fruit syrups of the
      Turks. The use of sugar in any case is known to
      have originated in the Middle East, from which we
      might deduce that all the natural conditions for
      ice cream actually came together in this region.
      For some reason however the sources fail to
      provide sufficient evidence of this.

      In certain western sources the story of ice cream
      in Europe dates back to the renowned traveller
      Marco Polo. These sources claim that the Chinese
      stored snow in cellars in the 6th century, so that
      ice cream could have been invented in that part of
      the world and introduced to Italy on Marco Polo's
      return from his travels. This same theory has it
      that the recipes Marco Polo brought back with him
      were passed on to the French Parliament by the
      chefs of Catherine de Medici when she married the
      French king Henry II.


      But let us turn now to the history of ice cream in
      Anatolia, to the special ice cream of the Turks
      which isn't found in any other part of the world.
      Centuries ago the people of Anatolia kept the
      winter snow from melting by storing it in mountain
      crevices which they covered with twigs. Come
      summer, they brought it up from its storage place,
      put it in bowls used for stewed fruit and,
      drizzling it with molasses, ate it. This sweet,
      which was called karsambac, is regarded as the
      ancestor of todays ice cream. With the entry of
      sugar into everyday life, fruit juices and syrups
      were also made and stored for consumption in
      winter. And they too were poured over ice cream
      and eaten with gusto.

      I might add that fresh snow with molasses is still
      consumed in some parts of Anatolia today. But the
      first thing that comes to mind at the mention of
      ice cream in Turkey is the beaten ice cream of
      Kahramanmaras. Not easily melted and with a
      consistency like taffy, it is like nothing else in
      the world, unique to Turkey alone... Maras ice
      cream, which is hung on a butchers hook and cut
      with a knife, is believed to have been made since
      the 18th century. And its most outstanding
      ingredient, which enhances its flavor and
      distinguishes it from all other ice creams, is the
      salep obtained from the knobby root of the wild
      orchid and ground in a mill. The ice creams made
      in Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep don't cause the
      usual burning sensation on the palate; indeed
      their soothing effect on the tongue and palate is
      yet another characteristic of the ice creams of
      this region. The ice cream that used to be eaten
      with molasses comes in a thousand and one flavors
      today. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, pistachio,
      cherry, banana, raspberry, even pumpkin, not to
      mention those flavored like cookies or sweets. You
      can have it in cups, cones or waffle sandwiches.
      Again, years ago, we could only find ice cream at
      shops that specialized in uniquely winter treats
      like pickles or the fermented hot drink boza, and
      whose trade in ice cream was therefore limited to

      Times have changed, but ice cream continues, and
      will continue, to sweeten the palates of everyone
      from seven to seventy all year round...
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