• What is Mevlevi Cuisine?
  • What is Mevlevi Cuisine?
  • What is Mevlevi Cuisine?
  • What is Mevlevi Cuisine?
  • What is Mevlevi Cuisine?

In the understanding of Mevlevi, the kitchen was of great importance in terms of being a place where dervishes were fed financially and where dervish candidates received spiritual training and matured in knowledge and manners. Here, both art and Mevlevi understanding were learned...

Cuisine Turned into Ritual: What is Mevlevi Cuisine?
Firuze CEYLAN Res. See.
Melek YAMAN Dr. Instructor Member of.
In the understanding of Mevlevi, the kitchen was of great importance in terms of being a place where dervishes were fed financially and where dervish candidates received spiritual training and matured in knowledge and manners. Here, both art and Mevlevi understanding were learned. In accordance with this special purpose of the kitchen, the name of the lodge was Matbah-ı Şerif by using the adjective "sheriff" meaning "valuable, honorable". 
Mevlana's emphasis on spiritual nourishment within the understanding of Mevlevi, the similarity between food and the love of God in his works, the use of the kitchen as a place of education, and the deep meanings that Mevlevi culture ascribes to food and nutrition were considered important. With this study, it is aimed to indicate the characteristics of the Mevlevi culinary culture and the meanings and different perspectives attributed to the cuisine, nutrition and food in the Anatolian culinary culture .
Nutritional habits of people from past to present; It has changed from society to society and from person to person under the influence of many factors such as past experiences, religious beliefs, traditions and customs. As a result of this, each society has a unique nutritional and culinary culture. In each of these different cuisines, cooking, preparation, table setting and the meanings attributed to them have also changed (Baysal, 2016, pp. 1-2). 
Our country has a rich culinary culture that has its roots in the past and carries the traces of many civilizations that have existed on it. Accordingly, many local cuisine cultures with their own characteristics have existed in Anatolia (Güler, 2010, p. 26; Canbolat and Yaman, 2017, p. 97). Societies have symbolized the tangible products that are eaten, thinking that they not only provide material satisfaction but also spiritual satisfaction (Abdurrezzak, 2014, p. 3). 
One of the best examples of this, the meanings attributed to the kitchen in the Mevlevi order was not only a place where food was cooked, but also an ordeal where the dervish candidates, who did not know the method of reaching God, received their first Sufi education and knowledge and were cooked and matured with Sufi training (Soysal, 2007, p. 41; Aksoy, Akbulut and İflazoğlu, 2016, p. 97; ).
Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (1207-1273) is described as a great teacher of Sufism as a result of his statements on morality and discipline. In this sense, Mevlana is a lover of Rights that resonates with his life, personality and philosophy not only in Turkish-Islamic Civilization, but also in Western civilization and continues to be influential today with his works (Aksoy et al., 2016, p. 97; Batu, 2016, p. 29; Zerrinkûb, 2017). , pp. 154-155). 
“The maturity of love is the union of the lover and the beloved, come away; Mevlana, who used countless food symbols in his ideas on the way to reach Allah, explained his philosophy of life with the words "Hamdım, Piştim, Burned" (Celâleddin, 1992, p. 228; Anonymous, 2017). Mevlana believed that the food gave meaning to the expressions in terms of the spiritual and mental benefits and the taste it left on the palate, and he used them. (Batu, 2016, p. 31).
In the Mevlevi culture, by establishing similarities between the spirituality process that people live and the cooking stages of the food, by giving mystical motifs and symbolic meanings to the material and cooking method of the food, this process has been transformed into a kind of worship and many rituals have emerged around it (Tosun, 2004, p. 123; Iyiyol, 2014, p. 591).
Together with the team formed within the framework of certain rules in the Mevlevi, the material and spiritual education of the dervishes in the kitchen, the cooker, who was responsible for this education, the hearth created in his memory, and the mausoleum made by using red colored stones because of his name when he died, show the respect shown to the kitchen in the 13th century. and reflects value (Halıcı, 2009, p. 19; Aksoy et al., 2016, p. 97).
It has been considered important to reveal these different meanings attributed to the kitchen by the Mevlevi, such as the kitchen being seen as a place of education in the Mevlevi, the cooking profession , which is given importance as the person who gives education, and the respect shown to this profession. With this study, it is aimed to reveal the rich features of the culinary culture in Mevlevi and the different meanings attributed to nutrition and food. For this purpose, the document review technique, one of the qualitative research methods, was used and a literature review was conducted using journals, books and articles.
Table Manners in Mevlevi
Due to the meanings attributed to the cuisine and the importance given to the cuisine in the Mevlevi, the phenomenon of food has turned into a ritual, and many foods and the consumption of these foods have become symbols that explain the theoretical and philosophical dimension of the sect. In this sense, food is considered important not as an act of nourishment, but also as a ritual, and different meanings have been attributed to worships determined by religion (Gündüzöz, 2016, p. 179).
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Mevlevi is approached with the understanding of "eat less, sleep less and talk less", which is accepted in mysticism, and the importance of this for self-discipline is emphasized. The idea of ​​controlling material and spiritual forces by limiting hunger, little food, and the desires of the nafs has been important for Sufis. In this sense, it is underlined that the blessedness of reaching God cannot be attained through the saturation of the material profit, but through the saturation of worship, which is the spiritual saturation (Ambrosio, 2012, p. 123; Tosun, 2016, p. 128).
Eating and drinking activity, which is seen as a complementary element of worship, has a ceremonial appearance with tables that are sanctified by attributing symbolic meanings, accompanied by prayers and gulbanks, and eaten collectively . (Soysal, 2007, p. 50; Arpagus, 2015, p. 297). This eating and drinking activity was carried out in a certain order and within the framework of the rules (Soysal, 2007, p. 77). In the lodges, the meal was eaten on a tripod made of round wood on a floor table. Skins were placed around this floor table and a long napkin was wrapped around the edge of the table, which would serve as a napkin. 
The table also has many symbolic meanings. So much so that the spoons are arranged with the handles to the right and face down. Because of this stance of the spoon, it is called "spoon in prayer", "spoon in gratitude". A pinch of salt was placed in front of everyone at the table. In addition, it is stated that in the meals given for the crowd, there is a table made of leather, in a long shape like the letter elif, and therefore called "Elif-i Somat", and that the souls sit opposite each other at this table. 
After all these preparations, one of the souls called out loudly in the corridor where the cells are located, "Huuu, Somata salaaa!" and invited everyone to dinner (Arpaguş, 2015, p. 285; Azsöz, 2016, pp. 339-40; Ertaş, Bulut- Solak and Kılınç, 2017, p. 56).
Prayers and gulbanks in the Mevlevi lodges took place in all the processes from the various stages of the preparation of the meal to the consumption of the meal at the table. It is prepared, cooked and eaten according to the food rule. (Ambrosio, 2012, p. 126; Iyiyol; 2014, p. 591). The meal was started with salt, eaten from a single bowl, and out of respect, no one ate more than the other. The person who finished his meal would turn his spoon and wait by restoring it. 
After the meal was ended with salt, prayers and gulbanks were said (Arpagus, 2015, p. 285; Iyiyol, 2014, p. 592). The tradition of drinking coffee on various occasions in the Mevlevi lodges has manifested itself. If an important meal was eaten, coffee was offered by the country square after this meal. In addition, it is known that there was a culture of drinking coffee in Mevlevi before the ritual (Arpaguş, 2015, p. 297).
Mevlevi Eating and Drinking Culture and Dishes in Gastronomy Research
Sects have created a rich culinary culture for themselves by blending the pre-Islamic Turkish cuisine features with the rich Anatolian cuisine culture, which is home to many civilizations. In the time of Mevlana, the dishes that were made less in variety were further developed over time, influenced by this richness. So much so that while Mevlana included a few spices such as cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and sumac in his works, he also included new flavors formed by the use of many different spices and flavors together with the influence of Anatolian cuisine. 
Among the Mevlevi dishes cooked in Atesbaz's cauldron are tutac soup, harise, kalye, borani, cooked head, liver kebab, tirit, shish kebab, ash (bulgur pilaf) and tarhana soup; These are some of the dishes cooked by Mevlana's famous chef Ateşbaz-ı Veli and mentioned in Mevlana's works.
Apart from these, toyga soup, sulbiye, bulgur vaccine, quince meal with molasses, carrot meal with molasses, celery kalyesi, slurry vaccine and salads, tzatziki with garlic, yoghurt with garlic, onion basil with sumac and eggplant salad were also made widely. (Aksoy et al., 2016, p. 101; Ertaş et al., 2017, p. 58). Tutç soup, which is similar to ravioli made from cubed mutton, stick dough and strained yoghurt in the works of Mevlana, took place on the tables of the sect and is one of the important dishes of Konya cuisine, which still exists in local cuisines and Mevlevi restaurants (Batu, 2016, p. 31; Ertaş et al. others, 2017, p. 61).
Another important ritual in the Mevlevi is cooking lokma, which is done with ceremony and requires certain manners. Lokma is the name of the pilaf cooked on Friday and sometimes Monday nights using ingredients such as rice, meat, onions, chickpeas, coriander and peanuts (Tosun, 2004, p. 128). 
Only a special cauldron in which the morsel was cooked was used in the cooking process. During the bite-cooking ritual, the door of the kitchen was locked, and only the dede and the matbah lives were kept in the kitchen, and it was almost a secret during the cooking of the bite. The ingredients put in the bite are determined by the grandfather according to the number, everyone adds their share to the bite, since all the souls in the kitchen must contribute. All souls would wait until the bite was cooked (Arpaguş, 2015, p. 283). After the bite was cooked, the grandfather opened the lid of the cauldron, and after the gulbanks were taken, the bite was eaten (Iyiyol, 2014, p. 591).
In our history , soup was important in the culinary culture of the lodge, and the saying "Waiting for the lodge drinks the soup" shows this. Since it is a necessity of Sufism to reduce the variety of food, especially during the ordeal, the soup was consumed alone when it came to the place. Wedding soup, okra soup, which was said to be reserved for Mevlevi, was one of the indispensables of Mevlevi tables. In addition, tarhana, milk and yogurt soups were also included. Ali Eşref Dede's Treatise on Cooking also includes recipes for juicy chickpea soup, fish soup, tarhana soup and liver soup (Halıcı, 1992, p. 1; Tosun; 2004, p. 127; Soysal, 2007, p. 80).
The tradition of sacrificing, which is one of the basic worships of the Islamic world, has been effective in the development of a meat-based cuisine. Meat was brought to the table without spoiling its feature of being a sacrificial meat and generally without breaking it too much, and it was served with rice and halva, which are thought to be complementary. In Mevlana's Mesnevi and Divan-ı Kebir, he also included kebab, liver kebab and other dishes made with meat. 
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Herise (keskek) made from wheat and neck meat has become a mystical symbol. Mevlana compared the meat and wheat, which were beaten and melted into one another, to the Sufis who were cooked for the love of God, who lost their identity and became one body, for them “everyone has turned into everything. None of them is different from the other, but those who do not know this unity together, it does not matter, it does not matter…” ( Soysal, 2007, p. 83).
Vegetables were also included in the Mevlevi cuisine. It is stated that okra is consumed fresh and dry and with plenty of lemon, and vegetable dishes such as spinach, eggplant, zucchini and celery are included in addition to kebabs, stuffed meat. Also, in Mevlana's works, "I am your spinach, cook it sour or sweet", "What is the friend of the eggplant? It gave ideas about how to cook and eat some vegetables, as in the statements "either vinegar or garlic". 
Turkish cuisine , which is rich in pastry dishes, bread and pies, has also affected the tables of the sect. Bread is considered sacred in Anatolian and cult cuisines, which are very rich in bread diversity, and has become one of the foods valued. Mevlana said, “Bread is lifeless as long as it stays on the table, but the joyful spirit is cut off in the human body. It is impossible for that bread on the table to be life, but the soul does the impossible thing with selsebil water, it makes the bread a soul, thus expressing the effect of food on people, the change and the importance of bread (Soysal, 2007, p. 86).
In many lodges, halva and ashura are cooked on special nights. Especially halva has been one of the sweets that is consumed and served in special meetings, rituals and conversations. Today, when halva is made, the tradition of distributing it to neighbors and eating it together still continues with minor changes. Ashura, on the other hand, has been a dessert that is customary to cook in Muharram in almost all sects. Apart from halva and ashura, other desserts were also made. Rice pudding, pudding, jelly and mesir paste, which is actually consumed for healing and made from 41 kinds of spices, are also consumed desserts (Tosun, 2004, p. 132).
Sherbets were drunk before and after the rituals in Mevlevi. Especially rose sherbet is one of the important sherbets served right after the conversations of the Mevlevi dervishes from different countries, and it is still served on special occasions today. Complements made from various fruits such as cherries, cranberries, apricots, plums, raisins, oranges, pomegranates, figs, pine nuts and pears were served alongside the rice. 
Sirkencübin, a drink made with vinegar and honey, was also one of the important drinks of the Mevlevi lodge. Apart from these, it is known that boza and ayran are consumed as beverages in lodges (Tosun, 2004, p. 132; Soysal, 2007, p. 88; Ertaş et al., 2017, p. 62). Preparations and rituals for certain days and nights, special ceremonies and celebrations had a special importance. One of these special meetings is the Ayin-i Cem. In the chat meeting held until this morning, rosebanks are read and then coffee is served at the meeting, where fresh and dried fruit, fruit sherbets made with cinnamon and a special almond broth prepared specially for this day were prepared and served (Soysal, 2007, p. 50, Arpaguş, 2015). , p. 297).
Conclusion and Recommendations
The Mevlevi order, which took its essence from Mevlana Celalettin Rumi and gained an organized structure during the time of his son, Sultan Veled , has succeeded in spreading love, compassion, tolerance, love of God, and the philosophy of being a perfect human for centuries, not only in Anatolia and the Islamic geography but also all over the world. Mevlana's philosophy always depends on the thought of educating the soul and doing everything in a discipline. 
It was aimed to become a dervish with patience, tolerance and fortitude by having the dervish candidates do symbolic work in the matbah-ı şerif, which has its own characteristics and is seen as the spirit of the Mevlevi lodges, by cooking and maturing the sect they entered raw. In addition to the fact that the kitchen is seen as a place of education, the values ​​given to Ateşbaz-ı Veli and his office, who teach here and have a very important place in Mevlevi, reveal the respect and importance given to the cookery and culinary profession centuries ago. 
With its unique culinary culture , dishes and table manners and cultural richness that has existed for centuries, Mevlevi is a tradition that has lasted for centuries. In parallel with the rich Anatolian culinary culture and the gastronomy curiosity, where the interest is increasing day by day, it is very important to transfer the Mevlevi culinary culture and the spiritual education given in the kitchen as cultural wealth to future generations. 
In addition, in order not to forget the rich food culture of the Mevlevi culture, the continuity of cultural values ​​should be ensured by cooperating with institutions and organizing courses and lessons. In their study, Ertaş et al. (2017) concluded that there is no restaurant in Konya that fully reflects Mevlevi dishes, Mevlevi cuisine culture and Mevlevi table manners. 
In this sense, it is thought that the places that will reflect the Mevlevi culture and the Mevlevi dishes that will be served here will contribute to Konya's gastronomy and tourism in parallel with the increase in the tendency of people to traditional dishes and themed restaurants. Since gastronomy is based on the relationship between tourism and food and beverage, it is thought that gastronomy tourism will contribute to local development by highlighting not only economic factors but also the effects of culture, local identity and local values. In this sense, it is considered necessary to do more research on Mevlevi dishes and culinary culture.
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As the head chef Ahmet ÖZDEMİR, I see the source:
Ms. Res. See. Firuze CEYLAN and Dr. Instructor Member of. I sincerely thank Melek YAMAN for her academic work titled "The Kitchen Turning into a Ritual: Mevlevi Cuisine" and wish her success in her professional life . It will definitely be considered as an example by those who need it in professional kitchens and the gastronomy and culinary community.
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