Scrambled egg served in copper pans, cheese in triangular packages, jam in mini jars, etc., are all you can get in a typical “village breakfast” you have in a city.
This “village breakfast” has recently become quite fashionable in metropolitan areas. It is marketed as a good service for city-dwellers who say “the best place on earth is my village,” or who never had a chance to have a breakfast in their village or who never visit the village they or their parents were born in, as well as for those conscious consumers who have a dislike of processed food. Indeed, everything we consume in a city, including cheese, olives, milk, yogurt, egg, and honey, is processed. Cucumbers are hollow while tomatoes are produced using special hormones and genetically modified seeds. In the past, tomato paste would be made even from the tomatoes which are crushed or have become stale or sour. You can hardly extract any juice from today’s tomatoes. In other words, everything on our table is fake.
Then how can we, the city dwellers, resist a 100-percent-natural breakfast with freshly harvested peppers, good-smelling tomatoes and cucumbers, “sugar-free” honey, creamy butter, fresh milk and cream, served on a specific theme, especially when we are living miles away from our village or if we never had any village to love?
Do village breakfasts have anything to do with a village?
In big cities, having a village breakfast has become a typical activity on Sundays, but can such breakfasts really be labeled “village” breakfasts? There may be exceptions to the rule, but in general, village breakfasts can hardly be defined as true village breakfasts. This applies not only to regular cafes and restaurants which offer village breakfasts in addition to other menu items but also to those places which exclusively serve village breakfasts. For one thing, the physical texture of these places is in stark contrast to the village concept. How can you feel yourselves in a village if you try to have a village breakfast in a place located next to a highway or under high-rise buildings or in a so-called garden with plastic tables and chairs? Not to mention the glass cups and porcelain plates. You may not care about the surroundings or table utilities or you may not find the setting reasonable, but to what extent do you think their offerings come from villages?
Before moving into this discussion, let us talk about what a breakfast really looks like in a real village setting. In a typical village, at most four different types of food can be found at a breakfast table. When I happened to have such a breakfast in the village of Bağrıyanık in Konya province, I personally observed it. I spent four days in this Tatar village and our breakfast consisted of only cheese, butter, bread and tea. This applies to every village in Anatolia, though different items of food may be used depending on the region. In this context, a village breakfast you may have in a metropolitan city where at least 25 different items are served on the table can hardly be defined as an authentic village breakfast. So many varieties can be served only at the house of a rich village agha. What foodstuff is specific to Kahramanmaraş — other than the cheese — in a village breakfast which is advertised as “Kahramanmaraş-style”? Tulum cheese may be from Erzurum, butter from Trabzon, cream from Afyonkarahisar, kaşar cheese from Kars and pastırma from Kayseri. If you are having a village breakfast in İstanbul, it is very likely that these products are actually processed foods bought from supermarkets. Thus, you get creamy cheese in triangular packages, jams in “cute” tiny jars, or eggs cooked with margarine, etc.
In other words, what you eat at high prices in these so-called village breakfasts is no different from what you can prepare at home with stuff bought from supermarkets. But don’t forget to serve the scrambled egg in copper pans and cook pancakes using phyllo pastry. The village breakfasts you “miss” cannot be found in your own village.