"MEZE" DISHES TO ACCOMPANY THE SPIRITS
Drinking alcoholic beverages in the company of family and friends,
both at home as well as in taverns and restaurants, is a part of special occasions. Smilar to the
Spanish tapas, "meze" is the general category of dishes that are brought in small quantities to
start to meal off. These are eaten, along with wine or more likely with "raki", the anise-flavoured
national drink of Turks sometimes referred to as "lion's milk", until the main course is served.
The bare minimum meze for rakı are slices of honydew melon ang creamy
feta cheese with freshly baked bread. Beyond this, a typical meze menu includes dried and marinated
mackerel, fresh salad greens in thick yogurt sauce and garlic, plates of cold vegetable dishes cooked
or fried in olive oil, fried crispy savoury pastry, deep-fried mussels and squid served in a sauce,
tomato and cucumber salad, and fish eggs in a sauce. The main course that follows such a meze spread
will be fish or grilled meat.
When the main course is kebab, then the meze spread is different.
In this case, several plates of different types of minced salad greens and tomatoes in spicy
olive oil, mixed with yogurt or cheese, "humus"(chick peas mashed in tahini), bulgur and red
lentil balls, raw kofte, marinatedstuffed eggplant, peppers with spices and nuts, and pickles
are likely to be served.