Wednesday, May 16, 2012

If you like Pistachios, you'll like the Prehistoric History of Turkey, Part II, the Mesolithic

We covered Paleolithic Turkey already so we'll focus on their Mesolithic period. The Mesolithic period of Turkey is centered on the practice of cultivating pistachios. Gaziantep, Turkey is the center of this pistachio flavored world and frankly, I am thankful. I love pistachios. Outside of Turkey, the pistachio was introduced to Europe through the observations of Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer. He stated the pistachio was, "well known amongst us" and for that I am thankful. Pistachios were grown in ancient Iraq and Iran and were probably an integral part of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. But their cultivation and spread to Europe are Mesolithic contributions from Turkey.

Pistachios are an iron rich food. They have become an integral part of deliciousness in modern cooking. Pistachios have been paired with garlic and basil to create a pistachio-basil butter that is incredible on seafood. It has been mixed with pineapple and cream to create a fantastic pudding. It has been deep-fried with goat cheese and olives to make bite-size fair food that is to die for. This Turkish delight has even been meshed up with coconut and marshmallow to create a variance of the southern staple of ambrosia. If you enjoy the taste of Pistachios then you can thank the Mesolithic inhabitants of Turkey for perfecting their cultivation.

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