From Kebab to Ćevapčići. Eating Practices in Ottoman Europe

Stefan Rohdewald's picture
September 24, 2015
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Modern European History / Studies

From Kebab to Ćevapčići. Eating Practices in Ottoman Europe


The example of Kebab and Ćevapčići seems to be a fitting allegorization of what "Ottoman Europe" is: Similiar to these two words differing from each other only by slight phonetic changes, but immediately recognizable as mutually related, Ottoman Europe is a region of an undeniable cultural diversity  based on a common "Ottoman" ground. This becomes clear also in the physical manifestations of food and its ways.


The aim of „Ottoman Europe“ as a research group is to foster the dialogue between Turkish/Ottoman and South-Eastern European Studies on the one hand and research on European history on the other. Accordingly, the symposium aims to recontextualize, reflect and expand recent approaches on food and foodways in this framework. While the research group focuses on the Early Modern Period, the scope of the conference will additionally include Ottoman and (post-)Ottoman foodways and their social contexts in the 19th and 20th centuries. Light will be shed on concrete practices or descriptions of food (consumption) and the meaning attached to them in an „Ottoman Europe“ between capital and periphery, in and between its regions, religions and confessions as well as in contact with the rest of Europe.


How were Ottoman/South Eastern European food practices refashioned as authentic and exclusive representations of nationality following post-Ottoman processes of disintegration and redefinition? Why should „šopska salata“ be essentially different from its Serbian, Greek, Macedonian, or Turkish equivalents? Is it reasonable to differentiate between specific Romance, Turkic or Slavic dishes, or rather to speak of cultural hybrids?


The conference will be organized along the panels "Early Modern Foodscapes", "Occidentalisms and the Local" and "Orientalisms and the Authentic".


Conference languages will be English and German, contributors using German will be asked to accompany their lecture by an English ppt-presentation





From Kebab to Ćevapčići. Eating Practices in Ottoman Europe

24.-26.9.2015, JLU Giessen


Thursday, September 24TH


Arrival, opportunity to join a get-together beginning with 7 PM


Friday, September 25TH


08.40 AM

Introduction Arkadiusz Blaszczyk MA, Prof. Dr. Stefan Rohdewald


Panel I: Early Modern Foodscapes

Moderation: Maria Petrou


09 AM

Margareta Aslan, Ph D. (Cluj-Napoca)

The Value of Spices in the Romanian Territories


09:30 AM

Arkadiusz Blaszczyk MA (Giessen)

The Food Factor in the Tatar Raids and their Perception


10 AM Coffee Break


10:20 AM

Castilia Manea-Grgin (Zagreb)

Italian-Inspired Cookbooks for Romanian and Croatian Aristocracy: A Reality of the 17th Century?

10:50 AM

Ágnes Drosztmér MA (Budapest)

From Fast to Feast: Ottoman Food and Consumption in Religious Contexts according to Central European Sources (Fifteenth - Sixteenth Centuries)


11:20 AM

Prof. Dr. Ali Çaksu (Sarajevo)

“Turkish Coffee” as a Political Drink from the Early Modern Period to Today



11:50 AM

Prof. Dr. Vjeran Kursar (Zagreb)

'Their God is Their Belly, Their Mother is Their Drunkenness.' Bosnian Franciscans on Alcohol Consumption in Ottoman Bosnia


12:20 PM

Disscussion and Commentary Daniel Ursprung lic phil (Zurich)


13:00 PM Lunch


Panel II: Occidentalisms and the Local

Moderation: Birol Gündoğdu


2:20 PM

Prof. Dr. Özge Samancı (Istanbul)

Ottoman Food Culture in the Balkan Peninsula through the Exotic Views of the 19th Century Traveler’s Accounts


2:50  PM

Dr. Uroš Urošević (Istanbul)

Cooking in the Times of Change: Mahmud Nedim bin Tosun’s Aşçıbaşı and the Ottoman Cuisine between Asia and Europe in the 19th Century


3:20 PM Coffee Break


3:40 PM

Aylin Öney Tan (Istanbul)

Digesting Change? Challenges of Westernisation and Aliyah over the Food Tradition of the Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Community in the 19th and 20th Centuries


4:10 PM

Dr. Tamara Scheer (Vienna)

The Austro-Hungarian Presence in Sanjak Novi Pazar (1879-1908) and the Political Dimension of Food Consumption and Evening Events


4:40 PM

Prof. Dr. Burak Onaran (Istanbul)

Questioning the Most Strict Dietary Taboo of Islam: The Pork Issue during the Early Republican Period in Turkey (1920-1950)


5:10 PM

Prof. Dr. Christoph Neumann (Munich)

Rakı-Production and Consumption in Istanbul (19. and 21. Centuries)


5:40 PM

Discussion and Commentary Dr. Konrad Petrovszky (Vienna)



7:00 PM


Key Note


Prof. Dr. Suraiya Faroqhi (Istanbul/Munich)

Fast Food in Early Modern Istanbul? Buying Soup, Kebab and Halva ready-made in the Marketplace

8:30 PM: Dinner


Saturday, September 26TH

Panel III: Orientalisms and the Authentic

Moderation: Rayk Einax


9:30 AM

Dr. Maya Petrovich (Oxford)

Ottoman Spices since the 18th Century until Today: Dreams and Realities


10:00 AM

Stefan Detchev PhD (Sofia)

“The Bulgarian Salads”: The Road from an European Innovation to the National Culinary Symbol


10:30 Coffee Break


10:50 AM

Aldijana Sadiković (Sarajevo)

Burek or Pita? Culinary Identities of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Diaspora in Turkey after 1992


11:20 AM

Prof. Dr. Stefan Rohdewald (Giessen)

Neo-Ottoman Cooking in Turkey after 2000


11.50 AM

Commentary and Discussion: Prof. Dr. Markus Koller (Bochum)


Commentaries Prof. Dr. Bert Fragner (Vienna)

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess (Marburg)

1 PM: Departure / Possibility to have lunch together