Every Turkish girl’s dream: Making börek

Every Turkish girl’s dream: Making börek

Belgin Akaltan - belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr
Every Turkish girl’s dream: Making börek Börek is a Turkish pastry. We even have a song for it: “Börekler açarım sana,” (I will make böreks for you) by Nazan Öncel. I was going to give the link to the song but I listened to it and decided not to. It is not Öncel’s best work (“Nereye Böyle” is perfect, for instance).  

It was two weeks ago that I was going to write about the bond between Turkish women and “the börek” but other incidents occurred in the meantime such as the heartbreaking photo of baby Aylan washed ashore and our Hürriyet headquarters being attacked by a mob smashing our windows. Now, in the office, we live together with dozens of good-looking, young, tall policemen.  

So the topic of börek came up two weeks ago when a newly appointed minister of the “election cabinet” was quoted as saying, “If a Muslim woman does not know how to make börek, then that family is doomed to break up.” 

Ayşen Gürcan is the Family and Social Policies minister by the way. She herself is divorced and obviously making börek did not help her own marriage. Other comments on social media were that she must have made börek a lot in her married life but then, they are guessing, she ate them all herself. 

Dear young Turkish girls and Muslim girls everywhere in the world: Do not fall into this trap. It is a minimal job, anybody can do it. They want women to take pride in cooking and cleaning so that they do not seek any other goal. 

Börek is made with filo pastry; its filling varies from cheese, spinach, minced meat to other local herbs. You soak them in or splatter on a mixture of eggs, milk or yogurt and oil, butter if you like; then there you go… Your marriage is saved (I just realized it is not only an offence to womankind, it is also an insult to married men who consider they would rather maintain - I guess - a bad marriage just because they are fed [and fooled] with good börek baked by a Muslim woman, right?). 

As you can see, baking börek is not rocket science. Any idiot can do it. 

Have you ever seen a man say he will learn how to make börek so his marriage can last? 

Girls, cross out “cooking good börek” from your ideals in life. I am repeating myself, but it is a trap. Don’t fall into that trap. Go to school, go to courses, go to municipalities’ free vocational courses, have a job, have a career. If you cannot do it, make sure your daughter does it. Make sure your daughters, your daughters-in-law, your nieces do not pursue a career “making börek.”

I don’t remember the last time I made a Turkish börek. Now, I buy it from Aslı Börek or Asu Börek or Mrs. Ayşe makes delicious homemade börek and her husband delivers them. Or I buy the frozen börek and heat them in the oven. Delicious. 

I do not make any Turkish börek. Not that I cannot make it. I choose not to make it. Please take note of this, dear girls. Be in a position where you have the option to “not make börek.” You can make börek for your own pleasure, for your own pastime. Just for fun. For your kids, for your husband, for your friends, for your guests, for your lesbian partner, but do not put it in the middle of your life as an objective, unless you are a professional cook. Do not put making börek in the middle of your marriage… 

Otherwise, you may end up fat and divorced but still giving the same inapplicable advice to married women in the year 2015 in modern Turkey. 

By the way, Family Minister Ayşen Gürcan has been indirectly reported she did not say this. Yep.  

As a last word… Well, I don’t have a last word… You will hear a lot from me… I will keep on saying and writing about Turkish börek, Turkish families, marriages, streets, beaches, toddler Aylan and handsome policemen in our building. You cannot imagine what I will write about next week…