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Karamanlis and their food
The Karamanlides/Karamanlar were a Turkish-speaking Greek Orthodox people living in Anatolia. The term was generalised to all Turkish-speaking Greek Orthodox. Since the Karamanlides were Greek Orthodox, and since alphabet went with creed in much of the world, the Karamanlides read Turkish in Greek script, which is accordingly called Karamanlidika.
Karamanlidika is the name of ANYTHING associated with Greek Orthodox Turkish-speakers. Their food, for example.
So when the Karamanlides arrived as refugees in Greece in 1924, they brought their food with them. Food Balkan Greeks were unfamiliar with, and sneered at as Turkish stuff. To this day, half of Greece loves pastırma, and the other half thinks it’s a joke—the only food Turks ever eat. (Yes, pastırma is in fact the word that pastrami comes from, but pastırma is smokier, pastrami more peppery.)
The descendants of the Karamanlides don’t speak Turkish any more; I’ve written of how the dialectologist Nicolas Contossopoulos dedicated his life to Crete and its dialect—and had to, because he could hardly dedicate it in Greece to the Turkish of his parents.
But at least some of them still take pride in what they left behind, and what they brought with them. Including their food. And those books with the funny-looking Greek letters.
So when I wrote an article on Karamanlidika writing a few years ago, Karamanlidika orthography, I benefitted not so much from the academic publications of Evangelia Balta, the world expert on it, as on the scans of books uploaded on the website of “Fanis’ Karamanlidika”, a Karamanlides restaurant and deli in Plaka, Socrates St. (Sadly the scans are no longer up.)
Mr Fanis Theodoropoulos wasn’t around for me to thank in person for preserving his ancestors’ culture, online, and on plates.
So I did the next best thing. I paid to buy his food.
It should not come as a surprise that Karamanlidika food is Anatolian food is Turkish food. Suits me, because Turkish food is awesome.
I did notice that at least one sign in the shop spoke of the food on offer as being Politika (from Istanbul) as opposed to Karamanlidika (properly Cappadocia). I surmise that fine details of regional diversity in Turkish cuisine won’t be well reflected here.
No matter. Pictured, the very convivial insides of the deli (there was even a “no cigar smoking allowed” sign), and Yet Another bottle of Radler.
Not pictured: the wonderful and yummy beef kavurma, sucuk menamen, and künefe I had, coz I ate it all. Ooh baby.
See? All because I wrote a blog article on the use of the Greek alphabet to write Turkish. Who said erudition is useless?