Culture of Food

Pub scenes and the kofte balls

In Australia we are increasingly upping the ante when it comes to pub food. Years ago, when you had pub food, it was either salted peanuts from a dispenser, or basic fare such as mince pies and boiled vegetables. These days most pubs have accomplished chefs and cooks able to dish up modern and vibrant cuisine.

I remember growing up in Sydney in the 70s and how Dad and his mates would knock back a couple at the pub after work, but would then come home to eat and drink in the Turkish way.  You see, alcohol is always accompanied by food in Turkish culture.  You go to any pub and at a minimum you would be given carrot sticks in lemon juice, or sliced apples with a sprinkling of Turkish coffee.  You would have your sexuality questioned if you offered carrots and apples to your mates with beer here in Australia. But to be fair to the Turks, even in an environment associated with drink and excess they maintain a balanced diet. And in any case, its God’s law that any self respecting man will eventually want meat and in Turkey you certainly get that.

One of the more favourite pub foods in Turkey (after the carrots) are the humble kofte balls. The small moist and tasty morsels of spiced meatballs washed down with icy cold beer fill all those emotional voids that the wife or girlfriend cannot fill. Did I mention that pubs in Turkey are generally frequented by young, broke students and disgruntled men avoiding going home at any cost? The kofte balls are their comfort food, and if your emotional void is a chasm, then you would order the fried liver cubes called ‘Arnavut cigeri’. But that is another story.

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