Sunday, 4 January 2009

What Would You Eat On A "Henna Night/Kına Gecesi"?

This foto was taken on a Sunday trip to Sultanahmet in Istabul/Turkey. The lonely standing of one of the traditional "Henna Night/Kına Gecesi" dresses is so similar to the feelings of some "bride-to-be"s... So you may wonder what on earth is a "Henna Night"? Well, it is a night that the women friends and family members of the bride hold a party in the brides' honor and no men are invited.

The bride’s face is covered and she is encouragred to cry bitter tears to express her sadness as she will be leaving her family. (In Turkey when a man gets married it is said that his family gains a daughter and the family of the bride loses theirs. This cultural understanding is the opposite in Spain.) It may seam ridiculous to many other people but you don't have to forget that this ceremony is hundres of years old (though no one knows exactly when it begun) and it is done for many cultural and religious reasons such as the leaving of the bride, tradition, virginity, beauty... etc and even for health. Well, lets move on to how it is done generally.

The henna is places on the palms of the bride’s hands and covered with a cloth. The henna stains her hands and it is a sign of joy for everyone to see. The grooms mother presents the bride a piece of gold(neckless,bracelet... etc.) for prosperity and wealth.

So what do they eat on this night? Actually this depends on the area. While in some there is just knick knacks (such as dried fruits and nuts) and softdrinks, in some others meals are served. As savoury Pilav/pilaf/pilau, meet dishes, pita bread, soups and as dessert different types of helva/halva/halwa, dairy dessert or types of baklava are served depending on the region of course.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

The Colourfull World Of The Carrots

Did you know that there were red, yellow, white,black and even purple carrots apart from our old friend the orange carrot? Or actually is the orange carrot as old as we think it is? And have you ever imagined that there could be a "Carrot Museum" somewhere on earth? Well, if you keep reading and click the link below you can find the answers to these and many other questions about the carrots!

"The noble carrot has long been known as an orange vegetable. Generations of people in the West have grown up believing that carrots are always orange. But as long ago as 2000 BC temple drawings from Egypt show a plant believed to be a purple carrot. It is also identified in the garden of the Egyptian King Merodach-Baladan in the eighth century BC.

In Roman times carrots were purple or white. By the 10th century purple carrots were grown in Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern Iran. Purple, white and yellow carrots were imported to southern Europe in the 14th century. Black, red and white carrots were also grown.

Orange roots, containing the pigment carotene, were not noted until the 16th century in Holland. This only came about thanks to patriotic Dutch growers who bred the vegetable to grow in the colours of the House of Orange. Experts believe Dutch breeders used a yellow mutant seed from North Africa to develop the orange variety and then stuck to it through breeding. Their colour comes from beta carotene with some alpha carotene, a pigment the body converts to Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and vision in dim light. Dutch breeders recently studied the health qualities of purple carrots and believe they give us extra protection against various forms of cancer and heart disease. They contain purple pigments called anthocyanins, and act as anti-oxidants that protect the body."

Important Notice: This information and the photograf is taken from The World Carrot Museum .