At the "Turkish Cuisine" event, organized by Yunus Emre Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Hatice Özdemir Tülün, the founder of Portakal Ağacı Studio, Editor-in-Chief for the Lokma magazine and the first food blogger of Turkey, talked about the Turkish cuisine and her career journey.
A quite colorful event about the “Turkish cuisine” was held at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the United States, one of the most respected universities in the world. The event was held online on Tuesday, April 06, at 20:00 (Turkish Local Time) through the collaboration of Yunus Emre Institute and the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Hatice Özdemir Tülün, the founder of Portakal Ağacı Studio, Editor-in-Chief for the Lokma magazine and the first food blogger of Turkey, was the guest speaker of the programme.
During the programme, Hatice Özdemir gave the recipe for the Ramadan pita and fake chicken breast pudding. Tülün talked about the Turkish cuisine and her career journey while she was cooking these recipes during the programme.
"TURKISH CUISINE IS A PLACE WHERE BLESSINGS, TRANQUILITY AND FAMILY COME TOGETHER"
Hatice Özdemir Tülün talked about her own career journey at the event that started with the opening speech of Yunus Emre Institute Specialist Nurullah Yavaş. Tülün said that the kitchen was a sacred place and defined it as a place where blessings, tranquility and family come together. Referring to the importance of the kitchen in Turkish culture, Tülün said, “For a Turkish woman, the kitchen is her castle. You cannot change the location of anything. The kitchen was also a very important place for me from a very early age.".
"MY MOTHER USED THE KITCHEN TO COMMUNICATE WITH US”
Tülün mentioned that her mother cooked food in the kitchen with her and her sister and said:
"My mother would take my sister and I into the kitchen, and we would make cookies together. At that time, I was 8 and my sister was 10. We would be surprised to see how the ugly cookies we made had beautiful shapes when they came out of the oven. Then, I found out that my mother was re-shaping the dog shaped cookies. Later, my mother told me that she was using the kitchen as a means to communicate with us.".
“DREAMS CAN CHANGE AFTER UNIVERSITY”
Tülün noted that her father graduated from the Department of Physics at METU, her mother was a secondary school teacher, and her sister graduated from Physics at one of the most important universities in Turkey.Tülün told that she could not graduate from the university as she failed to pass a single course in the final year and that she used cooking as an opportunity to get herself away from this. She mentioned that her joked about her cooking saying, "Hatice, your family worked really hard for you. Was all this for a food blog?". She pointed out the error in this perspective and said that people could have other dreams before entering the university, but when their education ended, they could turn into completely different people, and their dreams could change, and it was quite natural.
THOSE WHO DID NOT BELIEVE BEFORE ARE NOW CONGRATULATING
She said that before she started her career, people did not believe in her, and after 20 years of her career, people would be surprised at what she accomplished, saying, “Yes, you worked hard, and you won.” Tülün mentioned that after she achieved success with her Portakal Ağacı Studio and her blog, some people who were congratulating her now were the same people who did not support her back then.
She said that when she was thinking about giving up blogging and even her works at the Portakal Ağacı Studio, her colleagues told her that Portakal Ağacı was not only about her and encouraged her by saying "Portakal Ağacı belonged to all of them".
"IN ORDER TO SUCCEED, YOU NEED TO BELIEVE, WORK HARD AND SHUT YOUR EARS"
Tülün emphasized that Portakal Ağacı Studio taught her an important lesson in life and said, “If you believe in something, you work hard, and you shut your ears to those who talk negatively, you can do whatever you want. Yes, you can fall, and you can fall again even after you get up. But this will continue.".
IN TURKISH CULTURE, YOU MUST OFFER YOUR GUEST EVERYTHING YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOUSE
Tülün emphasized that offering and sharing food was very important in the Turkish culture and mentioned her grandmother's saying, “If something is not cooked in your house, the house smells like the cold water.", meaning that cooking food at home was related to the warmth of the family. Tülün mentioned that her grandmother told her to put everything that they had home on the table for the guest and that this was very important in the Turkish cuisine. She also said that her children's first question when they come back from the school was "What did you cook mother?".
EVERY DISH HAS A MEMORY
Tülün mentioned that when she asked her followers about their mothers' kitchens, she would always get interesting answers about the smells and told that one would eat tarhana when unhappy and chicken broth soup when sick, or delightful toppings on breads would be brought to the parks, or all kinds of dishes would be eaten during holidays, and each memory was accompanied by a different dish.