As with most cuisines, until recently, meat was always considered a luxury item for the Turkish people, mainly since milk-fed lambs, the most popular source of meat, have a very low yield. Meat was eaten almost only at the wedding ceremonies and during Kurban Bayrami (Eid ul-Adha), usually not in the form of kebabs but as etli pilav (pilaf with meat). However, after the advent of fast-food chains all around Turkey and introduction of industrial meat production, meat had become a part of the daily diet for most Turks, often in the form of döner kebab eaten at fast-food restaurants. Veal, which was usually shunned, became a familiar kind of meat. However, even today, the main use of meat at cooking is putting kiyma (ground meat) in small amounts to vegetable dishes, thus attaining names such as kiymali fasulye (bean with kiyma).
Margarine is widely used for cooking along with butter, kuyruk yagi (tail fat of sheep used mainly in kebabs and meat dishes), sesame oil, walnut oil and olive oil. Plum, apricot, grape, fig are commonly used fruits (either fresh or dried) in the Turkish cuisine. Indeed, in the Ottoman palace cuisine, the combination of fruit with meat is quite frequent. Either rice pilav or Bulgur pilavi (pounded wheat pilav) and the dishes made with dry beans (nohut, mercimek, kuru fasulye, börülce combined with onion, minced meat and tomatoe paste) have always been the most commonplace preference of Turkish people because of being economical and nutritious.
Turkish cuisine has a range of pastries either salty or sweet. Börek is the label name for salty pastries made with yufka (yubka: very thin layer of dough spread with the help of oklava (oklahu: wooden rolling pin brought to Anatolia from Central Asian Turkic tribes)). Su böregi made with boiled phyllo layers, cheese and parsley is the most eaten one. Çig börek (also known as Tatar böregi) is a fried one which is staffed with minced meat put raw in it. Kol böregi is another well-known type of börek which takes its name from its arm-like shape.
Breakfast in Turkish culture is a rich one as a range of products are consumed. Cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoe, green pepper, reçel (the difference from marmelade is that fruits in reçel are preserved as they are, they are not mashed), honey constitute the sine qua non elements of an ordinary Turkish Breakfast. Sucuk (Turkish sausage), pastirma, börek, even soups can be taken as a morning meal in Turkey. A common Turkish speciality for breakfast is menemen.
Yoghurt is an important element in the Turkish cuisine. It accompanies almost all meat (kebabs, köfte, eggplant dishes), vegetable dishes (especially fried eggplant, courgette etc.), mezes and a speciality called Manti (dough balls have minced meat inside. After getting boiled, they are served with yoghurt. A range of spices: oregano, dried mint, "sumak" and red pepper powder are added. The combination of dough balls (with minced meat inside) with yogurt differentiates it from tortellini or Chinese pasties found in wanton soup). In villages, yoghurt can be eaten with rice or bread. One of the most common Turkish drinks ayran is made from yogurt.
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