Culture, Interviews
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On Turkish Tea And Rumi: An interview With Döndü Kazankiran

Where are you from and what does your name mean?

I’m from the Netherlands but my family is from Turkey. My name means “Return/turn”. There is actually a funny story about it which I would like to share. In the olden days when a Mother gave birth to a lot of girls, they would name the last born girl “Döndü” so the next child will hopefully “turn” its gender and be a boy. This tradition and name is popular in the middle of Turkey called Anadolu (Anatolia). 

What has brought you to London?

In 2015 I came to London to do an internship. I met my husband and fell in love with him and when I finished studying in The Netherlands I moved to London so we could be together.  

What do you love about your culture the most?

Even though I was born and raised in the Netherlands, my big Turkish family has always taught me about the Turkish culture and manners. What I love the most is our warm hospitality. This can be towards our friends and family or to our newly moved neighbours we don’t know yet. It literally could be anyone. 

What is the one thing that defines your culture?

Our nationalism, we are proud Turks and love to show our culture to others; when you’re in Turkey you see Turkish flags everywhere. 

At MZAB we love everything tea, tea brewing and tea drinking! What is the significance of tea in your culture?

We have a very famous tea culture in Turkey! We love tea at any time of the day! We drink lots of it! We drink black tea which is grown in the northern area of Turkey called Karadeniz. 

We have a special tea pot called “Çay demlik”. It’s two pots on top of each other made of steel. The bottom pot boils just water and the top of the pot is the brewed tea. When pouring the tea you put a quarter of the tea in the glass and fill the rest of the glass with boiled water. Some people like it stronger and put more of the tea in the glass. We don’t drink our tea in an ordinary cup, it’s a special Turkish tea cup, made out of glass and it’s about 10cm long. That makes you drink from it even more! 

The recipe (4 people):

Step 1: Place the “Cay demlik” on the hot stove and pour 1 litre cold water on the bottom part of the “Cay demlik” and leave it untill it boils. 

Step 2: When the water is boiling, add on the top part of the “cay demlik” 3 spoons of Turkish black tea and add the boiled water from the bottom tea pot to the top teapot untill it is full. 

Step 3: Refill the bottom tea pot with water and let the tea brew for around 45 min. 

Step 4: Your tea is ready to drink! Pour a quarter of the tea in a Turkish tea glass and fill the rest of the glass with the boiled water. 

Some people add sugar to the tea, that is totally optional. 

Enjoy! 

We drink it in the morning with our breakfast, in the afternoon any time you want and after we have dinner in the evening. 

What is your favourite quote/ line of poetry from your culture?

  • “Ya olduğun gibi görün, ya göründüğün gibi ol” It means “Either seem as you are or be as you seem” by Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. 

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