The great 11th century Turkish writers Yusuf Has Hacib and Kaşgarlı Mahud gave us very detailed information on Turkish cuisine, as they did on almost every subject. Of the two, Yusuf gave most of his attention to the preparation of feasts, and what should be served at such feasts; he also addressed Turkish table etiquette in the 11th century among young and old. As for Kaşgarlı, he introduces us to 11th century Turkish cuisine from the aspects both of space as well as its material culture, and also provides information, sometimes very detailed, on various dishes and their preparation. From this standpoint, though what comes to mind at the mention of Turkish cuisine is the foods and drinks that lend it its richness, I deemed it more appropriate to give some brief information on table etiquette and the 11th century kitchen utensils, and then move on to the subject of food.

The Kitchen and its Implements: It is well known that in the 11th century, in the Karahan and Selçuk palaces in particular, various Turkish rulers and lords had kitchens run by master chefs, as well as wine houses run by special administrators. In addition, every Turkish home, like those of today, had an area set up as a kitchen, which was called and aşlık, meaning a place where food was made. However in time this Turkish name was abandoned; the modern word mutfak is derived from the Arabic matbah.

Below are the names of some of the implements used in the 11th century aşlık, with their modern equivalents if they have changed, and their translations.

11th Century Turkish Cuisine

The fact that so many of these implements are still known today by the same names shows that these have undergone little change in one thousand years, even in their names.