November 16, 2009

Happy Holidays to all friends!

Season's Greetings!
Happy Eid Adha, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy New Year, Happy Hannaka, and blessings to all this cold and blustery season. May your hearts be warm with faith, your bellies full of Gods blessings.                                 May you be compationate and kind to your neighbors,families and friends. May our minds, body and actions display the belief that was gifted to us from our creator. Have a wonderful holiday season. May God bless us all.

August 18, 2009

Turkish World Festival 2009

The Festival was out of this world, truly a blessing to all that volunteered and participated. Many of the volunteers are working hard to recuperate and prepare for the up and coming Ramadan or Ramazan activities.

I will try and prepare more in the next few days to let you know the highlights of the past 2 days at Turkish World 2009!

Best Wishes to all my readers, Banu

August 15, 2009

Turkish World Festival Navy Pier August 16th

Unbelievable, is all I can say! The Festival today was so incredible. Mehter Marching band, jewelery everywhere. Food, oh my this should be the Turkish Food Festival LOL I think they sold about 1000 cups of Turkish Coffee. The people there were wonderful. Every which way you turned there were TASC and Niagara volunteers, working tirelessly, painting faces, serving Gozleme, cakes, desserts, salads, everything was
Superb as I expected it would be. My feet feel like they will fall off but nothing would keep me from going tomorrow. Tomorrow it will be starting around 10-8 and then I believe there will be fireworks. OK I have to rise early in the morning, I cannot wait to see who will be there tomorrow.

I just want to make a prayer and ask God to bless all of the kind people that donated there time to volunteer, and those that attended today and opened their hearts and minds to a new culture.I also pray that God heals the bodies of all those that ached with pleasure today and that he' may give us strength to be even better tomorrow. Amin

Good night see you there tomorrow. insallah

August 14, 2009

# 1 Reason to go to the Turkish World festival 2009 August 15-16th Navy Pier Chicago IL

OK the number one reason to go to the Turkish World Festival at Chicago's Navy Pier is: drum roll please ........
The amazing people that you will meet there will be an incredible experience. Caring, kind, friendly, giving, sharing, Mothers, and Fathers, Doctors, University students, Mayors and City community leader with all their families will host you for two days in their "home". Please allow us to serve you as our guest.
Enjoy our foods and Culture and lets make some lasting memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. May God bless you and your family. See you there insallah (God willing)

Banu and family

August 13, 2009

Turkish Festival 2 days to go! August 15-16th.

OK so we have been way too busy preparing, organizing and hauling (not me personally) Everything we need to have a great Festival this year. You are gonna love it. I wonder if there will be oiled wrestlers there? They were even talking about maybe getting some sports pros..

Oh and wouldn't it be splendid if the prime minister of Turkey showed up? I would get his autograph! Well we will just have to see. See ya there.

August 11, 2009

Day 4 is here in the Count Down! Turkish World Festival August 15-16th Chicago

We are so busy preparing I will post on my four favorite foods tonight, that will be at the festival. See you later Banu
Well all the ladies at TASC, or Turkish American Society of Chicago have been so, so busy preparing the delicious foods for the festival. There will also be local Turkish restaurants that will be showing off their specialties too.
So, today I walked in on the ladies Makbule, and Sania abla and Emine hoca and Nedime, and Semanur abla, tirelessly working at rolling mixing and shaping Gozleme. TASC just ordered a new electric griddle so Meral and Ayse were over preparing and testing how it works and going over some final details.
Gozleme is just a plain dough that is rolled thin, and fried in an oil less griddle. it is filled with various sides, such as meat and potato, cheese, and mushrooms. Off the griddle it comes and is buttered up. This dish doesn't appear to be so special but it takes some incredible skill to open the dough paper thin. Flour is flying everywhere, hands are cracked from it also. Last year I cannot even recall how many hundreds or maybe even thousands of Gozleme made, all with love and a feeling of joy to share some tradition with the fine people that showed up.

The next back breaking dish that was made was su boregi or boiled pastry sheets. This is made into a deliciously most butter pastry that is so time intense but so worth the wait.
Another dish that I know you will enjoy is Manti, it also is made from flour. Once the dough is rolled out it is then cut in small one in squares and stuffed with the smallest bite of fresh ground meat and onions. Each small purse is dropped in rolling hot water and then removed and plated. Garlic yogurt is spooned on the top, and then drizzled with warm butter, seasoned with mint and red pepper. It is a favorite with most people.

And the last of the four great delicacies is traditional Turkish coffee, brewed fresh in front of you. A very thin layer of froth will be placed on the top and 2 sugar cubes on the side. It is very rich and velvety. One note though, do not drink to the bottom of the cup. Although it will not hurt you, and is good for the digestive system, the finely powdery grinds will leave a somewhat unpleasant taste in your mouth.
My mouth is watering already. How many days do we have to go? Oh my just 3! See you there!

Turkish World Festival Day 5 August 15-16th Navy Pier

High five day we are half way there! Festival time coming up.

Here are some funny high fives I thought you all might like!

August 09, 2009

Turkish World Festival Count Down day 6 August 15-16th

We are now down to day 6 in the count down.
Day six reminds me of the 6 or so paint colors that will swirl in the Ebru pans on Festival Day. Read on if you would like to have a brief history.

Art of Ebru and Ahmet Saral

The art of ebru, or marbling as it is known in English, is a mysterious art whose history and technique hold many secrets. By whom, when or how ebru was discovered is unknown. However, researchers agree that it originated in the city of Bukhara in Turkistan, and from here spread via the Silk Road to Persia, India and Anatolia.
One of the greatest masters of ebru, Ethem Efendi (1829-1940), was the son of Sadyk Efendi of Bukhara (?-1846), Seyh of the Özbekler dervish lodge or tekke in Istanbul. Ethem Efendi used to say that "Ebru is like magic, sometimes it works and sometimes not".
The difficulties entailed by ebru lend it an uncertainty which is certainly part of its fascination. One of the best contemporary ebru artists, Mustafa Düzgünman, explains, "Ebru has a perpetually changing harmony, and requires great dedication and patience."

The word ebru is defined in modern dictionaries as "coloured wavy patterns on paper". This patterned paper was traditionally used to line book bindings, but today ebru works are often framed as pictures. In outline the traditional method is as follows: First a solution of gum tragacanth is placed in deep tray. The sap obtained from the stems of Astragalus Tragacantha, gum tragacanth, lends viscosity to the water. Who originally had this idea? No one knows.

The origin of the method of preparing the pigments is another mystery. Having been ground to a fine powder the pigments are mixed with some kind of solutions. Then one or two small spoonfuls of fresh cattle gall are added to aid surface fluidity. The paints are now ready to use.
Beginning with the darkest colour, the paints are dripped or sprinkled onto the surface of the solution with a brush. Dipping a stiff hair or stick into the water, the paint is gently swirled into the desired pattern. The sheet of paper is now gently placed on surface of the solution, and after waiting few seconds carefully lifted.
Ebru enjoyed its golden age between 1500 and 1700, when ebru compositions made by artists centred around Beyazyt in Istanbul fetched high prices in Europe and America under the name of "Turkish paper" or "Turkish marble paper". Examples of these fine pieces are to be seen in museums and libraries all over the world today. No traveller to Istanbul left without purchasing some of this colourfully patterned paper with designs resembling clouds or marble.

In any cases these were bound as albums, and ebru became increasingly well known in Europe as result. Although knowledge of the technique spread to Europe, preparing the solution of gum tragacanth correctly proved a serious problem, and artists failed to match the quality of Turkish ebru. Eventually, in 1884, they abandoned gum tragacanth altogether in favour of badderlocks, the discovery of Joseph Halfer, a marbler from Budapest.

Although ebru was originally used to produce purely abstract designs, as the skills of its practitioners increased bringing increased control over the end result, experiments were made with figurative designs. However, success did not come until Necmeddin Okyay (1883-1976) finally succeeded in creating flower designs. His ebru carnations, poppies, tulips, violets, hyacinths and other flowers are extremely lovely, and attracted a fresh wave of interest in Turkish ebru around the world. Mustafa Düzgünman added daisies to the floral repertoire.

The last phase in the development of the ebru as an art rather than pure decoration was the work of Ahmet Saral. Ahmet Saral is convinced that mineral pigments are a key to the aesthetic value of ebru. By creating grainy or wavy effects with these pigments, the finished result is not only more attractive but reflects natural textures. He asserts that the western ebru technique using badderlocks and soluble pigments does not achieve the same aesthetic quality and diversity of the traditional method.

Saral specialises in superb compositions of miniature flowers, and says that anyone who has tried their hand at ebru will realise that creating flower designs is far harder than it might seem at first sight. So hard, indeed, that only a handful of artists can do it properly at all. Ahmet Saral explains that miniature flowers are harder still, and only after long experiment did he succeed in producing these designs.

Another challenge which Saral has set himself is exploring the possibilities of figurative ebru compositions. Having decided upon a subject he produces a series of ebru pictures along that theme. His fish series, for example, is a truly remarkable demonstration of ebru's versatility.

Source : by Cüneyt Taylaner (Researcher and author) in Skylife Magazine November '95

August 08, 2009

Turkish World Festival 2009 Chicago IL August 15-16

Drum roll please... We are at the 7Th day and 7 reasons to attend this years event. When I think of seven it reminds me of the seven movements and meanings behind the Turkish Whirling Dervishes performance. Not only is their music soothing and serene but there is a feeling of peace and tranquility as you watch them methodically turning.
The information below is to be used for educational purpose and is reprinted with great respect and appreciation.

Mevlana Celaladdin Rumi

Text by Dr. Celaleddin Celebi (Dr. Celebi's other writings)
Sema is part of the inspiration of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (1207- 1273) as well as of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. Sema or the human being in universal movement.

From a scientific viewpoint we witness that contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no object, no being which does not revolve and the shared similarity among beings is the revolution of the electrons, protons and neutrons in the atoms, which constitute the structure of each of them. As a consequence of this similarity, everything revolves and man carries on his live, his very existence by means of the revolution in the atoms, structural stones of his body, by the revolution of his blood, by his coming from the earth and return to it, by his revolving with earth itself.

However, all of these are natural, unconscious revolutions. But man is the possessor of a mind and intelligence which distinguishes him from and makes him superior to other beings. Thus the "whirling dervish" or Semazen causes the mind to participate in the shared similarity and revolution of all other beings… Otherwise, the Sema ceremony represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, his growth through love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to the "Perfect," then he return from this spiritual journey as a man who reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of believes, races, classes and nations.

Sema consists of seven parts.

The first part
The dervish with his headdress (his ego's tombstone), his white skirt (his ego's shroud) is by removing his black cloak spiritually born to the truth, he journeys and advances there. At the onset and each stop of the Sema, holding his arms crosswise he represent the number one, and testifies to God's unity. While whirling his arms are open, his right hand directed to the skies ready to receive God's beneficence, looking to his left hand turned toward the earth, he turn from right to left around the heart. This is his way of conveying God's spiritual gift to the people upon whom he looks with the eyes of God. Revolving around the heart, from right to left, he embraces all the mankind, all the creation with affection and love… It starts with an eulogy "Nat-I Serif" to the Prophet, who represents love, and all Prophets before him. To praise them is praising God, who created all of them.

The second part is a drum voice,
symbolizing God order to the Creation: "Be."

The third part is an instrumental improvisation "taksim" with a reed "ney." It represents the first breath which gives life to everything. The Divine Breath.

The fourth part is the "dervishes" greetings to each other and their thrice repeated circular walk "Devr-i Veled," with the accompaniment of a music called "peshrev." It symbolize the salutation of soul to soul concealed by shapes and bodies.

The fifth part is the Sema (whirling). It consists of four salutes or "Selam"s. At the end of each as in the onset, the dervish testifies by his appearance to God's unity.

The first salute is man's birth to truth by feeling and mind. His complete conception of the existence of God as Creator and his state of creature.
The second salute expresses the rapture of man witnessing the splendor of creation, in front of God's greatness and omnipotence.
The third salute is the transformation of rapture into love and thereby the sacrifice of mind to love. It is a complete submission, it is annihilation of self with in the loved one, it is unity. This state of ecstasy is the highest grade in Buddhism, defined as "Nirvana" and in Islam "Fenafillah." However, the highest rank in Islam is the rank of the Prophet, he is called God's servant first and his messenger afterwards. The aim of Sema is not unbroken ecstasy and loss of conscious thought. At the termination of this salute, he approves again by his appearance, arms crosswise the Unity of God, consciously and feelingly.
The forth salute Just as the Prophet ascends till the "Throne" and then returns to his task on earth, the whirling dervish reaching the state of "Fenafillah," return to his task in creation, to his state of subservience following the termination of his spiritual journey and his ascent. He is a servant of God, of his Books, of his Prophets and all his creation.

First Salute- kiss of hand

Second Salute- permission to whirl (dance)

Third Salute - Whirling

At the sixth part Sema ends with a reading of the Quran and specially of the verse from sura Bakara 2, verse 115, "Unto God belong the East and the West, and whither over ye turn, you are faced with Him. He is All-Embracing, All-Knowing."

The seventh part is a prayer for the repose of the souls of all Prophets and all believers.

Here is another web page you might find useful. It gives more in depth terms and meanings.

August 07, 2009

Chicago's Turkish World Festival Navy Pier August 15-16th! Count down

Only eight more days until Turkish World's Festival show time at the Grand ball Room Navy Pier. Day 8 in our countdown is dedicated to the "8" participants that will share their countries heritage with the world, including Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Bosnia including Herzegovina
Please note: All country information was located on the web and may or may not give a realistic interpretation of the countries listed above. Banu's Kitchen holds no responsibility in case of error of information listed as be.

August 06, 2009

Turkish World Festival Count Down 9 Days!

Reasons to visit Chicago's Navy Pier Turkish World Festival August 15-16th:

1. The food will be incredible. Gozleme, Keba's off the grill and Doner are all number one reasons not to miss this year’s festival.

2. At the festival you will have a chance to travel the Turkic countries of Europe, explore what makes them special and meet the unknown people that lived there for centuries.

3. They offer their own stimulus package, it's free to get in, enjoy the performances and get some free stuff.

4. The whole family will have a blast including the children. The Children's section has many hands-on activities pottery, sand art, marble competitions...and many more incredible activities that not only entertain for hours but educates them as well.

5. This year’s festival will bring you up close to centuries old craftsmanship, and regional art.

6. The old Ottoman Military Band will be there. Having flown all the way from Turkey with their costumes and instruments, they are ready to charge you for battle. What battle you ask...? The one through the Gozleme lines!

7. Which brings us to 7th reasons you should go to the Turkish Festival?
There will be lovely Turkish and Ahizka ladies working tirelessly on hard cold mats. First they'll roll out fresh handmade dough, then fill it with an ever so delicious filling of cheese and parsley, or meat and onions, or even potato with fresh spices. Then after it's grilled and has just the right color, it is married with a gentle bath of butter and served warm with an icy cold glass of Ayran. Yum! (Ok I am sold, I'll be there!)

8. And if 7 reasons were not enough, there will be jewelry and artwork, handcrafts, music, sports memorabilia, books, house wares and artwork. If that doesn't spark your interest maybe number 9 will.

9. Chicago's Turkish World Festival is an opportunity to meet some great people that want to share their lives with you. What better way is there than to unite our different races, religions, and find harmony and peace through sharing our family with yours?! Be prepared to make new friends and some unforgetable memories that last a life time.

August 05, 2009


The Count down begins until Chicago's Turkish World Festival!
If you are in the Chicago land area or within driving distance, you will not want to miss this year’s Turkic World Festival. I snagged a peek of the schedule and all the things planned and it is outstanding. If you would like to whisk your family around the world in 2 short days this is the place to do so. There are many activities for the children, and adults. There will be live performances galore. Don't forget the camera and bring a bag for all the souvenirs you will pick up. You will definitely learn about the rich cultures that share Turkey’s history. If you have any questions please send me an email. Best Wishes

July 12, 2009


OK so I haven't posted for a while, after a battle of illness, and finally getting some resolution elh. I am going to start posting again. I hope that you have enjoyed the recipes and news since I have been gone. I have some great Ideas and a new look and format in the plans. Hope you all had a nice summer and see you soon! Best Wishes Banu's Kitchen.

August 16, 2008


Caution: The information you are reading below is refering to last years 2008 Festival. New information is listed above under the countdown.

August 16th and 17th Grandball room Navy Pier! Freee! Dance performances, Food from many different Turkic countries, Childrens areas for lots of fun. Follow the link below and make sure to open your window or you might get an error message.

Best way to get there is public transportation: Metra to bus, there are many different options. Did I mention the time? Opening ceremonies 11 a.m to 10 p.m. with Yes Fireworkssss! Whew whoo we are going to have fun and meet our neighbors of the world! See you there!

November 08, 2007

Chicago's Turkish Cultural Fair 2007

It was such an incredible two days! The preparation and the teamwork that it took to make this a success really shows the dedication, passion and the commitment of TASC volunteers!
Every Turkic country had the chance to display their rich history and grandeur.
It was important for them to share their culture, arts, music and dance being that many of these countries are unknown or forgotten. I shouldn't forget to mention the guests that TASC organized! Turkish Airlines, Ayna (famous rock group from Turkey) Mehter or Turkish marching band. Years ago it was the duty of the Mehter to motivate the soldiers before moving into battle. There were many other dance routines and singers like: Turkmenistan's Pop rock singer, that really motivated the crowd.
At last, I have to mention the long hour of preparation and work that the ladies of TASC did. There was a 20 foot line of hungry onlookers wanting to taste Turkish Gozleme and later Baklava and Turkish Coffee. We applaud those who gave their time and sweat. Next year I would recommend this to families living in the Chicago Land area! Thank you Turkish American Society of Chicago for shaping our world!