Talk:Baklava

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Gastris recipe plus on Byzantine dishes[edit]

Many Ottoman sweets are similar to Byzantine sweets, using dough, sesame, wheat, nuts and fruits, and some were similar to the Ottoman börek, halva, and so on. This seems suspicious and is based on no citations. I say we remove it, unless someone can prove the Byzantines had such similar treats. As a native Greek, I always thought Halva was Arabic, to be honest. Regardless, both the Turks and Arabs have a much richer culinary tradition on Halva, for example this Greek-based Halva maker and this economic e-newspaper both state that a well-known Greek variation of Halva (namely, Halvas Farsallon) was initially invented by the Turks in the region. As far as borek and others are concerned, I believe the article on Phyllo dough shows that Turks were making layered bread and dough long before arriving in Anatolia.

Also, I would like to suggest that we add this recipe of Gastris to the article. It is already a part of Greek wikipedia's article on Baklava and would help resolve any confusion on perceived and actual similarities between Gastris/Koptoplakous and Baklava. --82.9.60.181 (talk) 15:37, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment. I don't think we should add the recipe of gastris to this article, but why not start an article specifically on it?
About the "similar to" comment, Vryonis and Perry talk about the similar ingredients (which of course do not mean that the dishes are the same). --Macrakis (talk) 16:33, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

One of the oldest known recipes for a sort of proto-baklava is found in a Chinese cookbook written in 1330 under the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty under the name güllach.[3] "Güllaç" is also found in Turkish cuisine. Layers of phyllo dough are put one by one in warmed up milk with sugar. It is served with walnut and fresh pomegranate and generally eaten during Ramadan. An ancient recipe from the Greek island of Crete for Gastrin (in Greek: γάστριν) is quite similar to modern baklava. Sesame seeds, pepper, and poppy seeds are only some of the unusual ingredients in this ancient recipe. Petimezi (a sweetener made from grapes), used long before sugar arrived in Greece, adds to its unique taste.


Baklava The Greek's major contribution to baklava was the creation of the dough technique that allowed it to be rolled as thin as a leaf, rather than the rougher, bread-like texture of the Assyrian dough. The name "phyllo" comes from Greek language, meaning "leaf." The phyllo dough was then given a French touch in the late eighteenth century, when a former pastry chef of Marie Antoinette, in exile at the Ottoman Turkish palace, created the "dome" technique of cutting and folding baklava squares.124.187.116.251 (talk) 12:01, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Suggested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. This is a non-starter for the reasons discussed and per the consensus below.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 16:25, 28 December 2013 (UTC)


BaklavaTurkish baklava In 19 December 2013 Baklava became the first ever Turkish product registered list of Protected Geographical Indication by the European Commission.[1] Name of Antep Baklava or Gaziantep Baklava just used as local name in Gaziantep, it's recognized as Turkish Baklava from outside like Turkish delight.

Baklava should move to Turkish baklava above-mentioned reasons. Maurice07 (talk) 23:12, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Support, as proposer. Maurice07 (talk) 23:33, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I've never once heard the name "Turkish baklava" and the links provided don't change my mind. Hot Stop 23:47, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - nationalist baker protests notwithstanding, the article lists regional variations throughout the Ottoman empire and "Lebanese baklava" "Greek baklava" are as much subtypes of the umbrella "baklava" as the Turkish type. In ictu oculi (talk) 00:44, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the generic name is baklava. Nobody goes to a sweet shop to ask for Turkish baklava, just baklava. If Turkish baklava has specific qualities, these can be expanded in a "Turkish baklava" section within baklava article. werldwayd (talk) 02:48, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the topic of the article is baklava in general, not Turkish baklava in particular. The original poster seems to be misinterpreting the EU registration of a PGI. What that registration says is that the name "Antep baklava" officially refers to baklava produced in a certain way in a certain place from certain ingredients. What it does not say is that Antep baklava is the standard for baklava. Nothing excludes the possibility of an additional PGI for, say, Aleppo baklava or Bursa baklava. --Macrakis (talk) 06:20, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Maurice07, how do you justify this in light of our policy at WP:COMMONNAME? It should simply be Baklava, which is how it is normally known. Dougweller (talk) 10:41, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose ridiculous nationalism --Երևանցի talk 21:36, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:
  • Comment - User:Yerevantsi, I'm looking your contribs so far and I don't need to take lessons from you on nationalism. Completely article related Armenia and Armenians. Best regards.. Maurice07 (talk) 20:03, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
OK. Nice to know you can't see my edits unrelated to Armenia. --Երևանցի talk 22:10, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Origins of Baklava[edit]

It is my opinion that the "history" of this food need to be revised. The opening sentence is rather misleading: "there is evidence that its current form was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul."

The above quote accounts for its "current form" but doesn't account for its actual 'origins' and is thus, extremely misleading. The Assyrians have a historical claim to the actual, 'original' food as do the Byzantines and subsequently the ancient Greeks.

It is highly misleading to suggest that it was the invading Ottomans who only in the latter half of the 2nd millennium CE started serving this food; who pioneered it.

There needs to be further discussion regarding the 'origins' and not just the modern form. The talk about "layered breads" is irrelevant and somewhat of a red herring, given that it is in the 'origin' section. The line about the Sultan serving baklava in the history section further demonstrates that which I am describing. It does not explain the origin but is explicitly circumstantial though it is used as evidence to support an origin argument. The 'origin' is important and it deserves more than one sentence at the start of that section. The Ottomans pioneered it, yes; but where did it originate.

Taking Perry's word - a single source - for this is not effective information propagation. I have noticed that Perry has been used on all of the relating pages such as the Filo page as well, as though Filo just appeared suddenly when in fact it is a Greek word meaning "thin;" as in 'thin pastry.'

This sentence further illustrates what I am talking about: "The thin phyllo dough used today was probably developed in the kitchens of the Topkapı Palace." --- This needs a citation and does not have one as it is very important. You can not just make things up and pass them off as fact to suit a circular argument; in this case proving that Filo is of Turkic origins. "Probably," is not encyclopedic.

This topic needs further discussion and research. ONE source to cover the entire page's origin section is certainly, not enough. - Eidetic Man (talk) 14:51, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't think anyone knows for sure where phyllo dough was invented. We probably need to find several sources that meet WP:RS and attribute statements to the authors. I wouldn't normally do this, but I'm copying an old section from the archives below: Dougweller (talk) 15:16, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

2007 discussion on credible sources[edit]

The quality of the sources used in the baklava article has often been discussed, so I thought I'd write down some thoughts on the subject....

The Wikipedia policies WP:No original research and WP:Verifiability require that we use WP:Reliable sources in articles (I'd strongly recommend editors read those policies carefully).

As with many subjects, this can be a challenge for food history. There are many legends about food history (see, e.g. Croissant), and a lot of national pride attached to many foods. The legends tend to be perpetuated in cookbooks, newspaper columns, Web pages, and other non-scholarly sources. Fortunately, for some foods at least, there are serious researchers who have looked into the history using good methods and sources and have published their results in reputable books and journals. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that their conclusions are correct or definitive, but it gives some degree of confidence. And if there are contradictory scholarly theories, WP policy says we report them.

The current baklava article contains all the scholarly theories that editors have found so far and reports on their conclusions. Some editors have wondered why we should consider Perry as credible. Well, he's a scholar who has studied at Princeton and Berkeley; he has published a translation of al-Baghdadi's cookbook; he reads many of the relevant languages (Arabic, Turkish, Greek). He publishes his work in reputable places, like Petits Propos Culinaires, the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery History, the Oxford Companion to Food, and books edited by serious academics (like the one in question). He makes cogent arguments based on direct study of the documents in question. He references relevant secondary literature, even when it disagrees with him (like Vryonis and Koukoules, whom Vryonis references). Because he publishes in reputable places, he opens himself up to criticism, which means that there is an opportunity for rebuttal. His article on baklava is well-reasoned. He doesn't have any (obvious) axe to grind or conflict of interest (e.g. he is not working for the Uzbek Ministry of Culture). He is cited by other articles on the subject. (e.g. "The Westernization of Iranian Culinary Culture", Iranian Studies 36:1:43)

Of course, if any of us find other solid sources, we should integrate them into the article. --Macrakis 20:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I think there misunderstanding of the origin of baklava. Baklava making was first invented in the middle east where the Levant, Mesopotamian and Arabia. Baklava perhaps was introduced to Turkish by Arabs. Just like kunafa, lokum, halva, halawa, Kadayif and many other desserts, with keeping in consideration that the mentioned desserts contain Arabic origin names and not related to the Turkish language or origin. (unsigned comment by User:86.132.195.97 2007-01-07T06:02:52)

This is the baklava article; the other foods you mention have their own history sections. If you have reliable sources for a Middle Eastern origin for baklava, please contribute them. Thanks. --Macrakis 21:46, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't matter this article shouldn't state Turkic origin is the only possibility Perry is not the only scholar in the world who is reliable therefore changing it is necessary. Vryonis Speros who states that baklava has Greek origins. Vryonis is a Byzantine Professor who can read Ottoman Turkish and Medieval Greek. Source: The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh Through the Fifteenth Century by Vryonis Speros Jr. also there is an excerpt taken from Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine written by Nawal Nasrallah. As far as I have been able to ascertain, Nasrallah is not a serious academic, however, his ideas are interesting. It should also be noted that Perry has read and translated al-Baghdadi, which Nasrallah uses as a source. Nareklm 07:40, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

LMAO, Narek, copy pasting what I said from Myspace tsk tsk tsk :P :P :P HAHAHAH

Yeah man we need all the help we can get ;-) Nareklm 19:35, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Of course Perry is not the only reliable scholar. Vryonis is already cited in the article for exactly the work you mention. Buell is also mentioned. I don't know anything about Nasrallah's book, but if she has solid research to present, why don't you discuss it here? --Macrakis 19:51, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Arabic etymological sources[edit]

This is a simple reproach: Wehr's Arabic - English dictionary is not an authoritative guide for Arabic etymology, much like Larousse's Chinese - French dictionaries should not be used as a definitive guide for Chinese etymology. If possible, use sources from within the language or translations of said sources (whereas Wehr is an original German-language source). There are better etymological sources for etymology written in the target languages themselves. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 5.15.225.170 (talk) 04:31, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

NPOV dispute, Curious Turkic Origin[edit]

The history section, presenting a Turkic (Uzbek and Tatar) nomad origin for baklava as more or less definitive, appears partisan. I'd suggest this section treat a Turkic origin hypothesis in an at least equal manner to other equally well cited hypotheses. The Greek/Byzantine origin hypothesis, for instance, is relegated to a bullet point at the very end of the history section, though it is equally well supported and cited. I'd expect that other Near Eastern origins (Armenian, Assyrian) are also well supportable. The current article seems to privilege one hypothesis over the others with little objective justification for making such a choice. I'd point out that the cuisine of the medieval Turkic nomads included no oven baking and many of the Turkic words relating to baking came from the languages of the sedentary and urban populations amongst which those nomadic peoples settled. "Turkmen cuisine, as described by Brocquiere, was a very simple affair consisting primarily of the produce of their flocks--meat, milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, supplemented by millet or other grains, fruit, honey, eggs, and a type of unleavened wafer (prepared on a portable hot iron in the manner of our own pancakes) in place of bread. The preparation of the unleavened cake was quite different from the baking of bread, and indeed the oven (furnus) of the Armenians and Greeks was conspicuously absent. It is significant that the Anatolian Turkish terminology for bread and its preparation has many words of Byzantine origin." [1] Given the ancient historical prevalence of honey and nut based baked dishes in the Near East (see citations already in the article), it is an at least equally likely hypothesis that baklava's antecedents lie in the cuisine of some sedentary Anatolian (Byzantine or earlier) or Near Eastern (Assyrian, Armenian etc.) population with a long history of bakeries and urban baked sweet merchants. An evenhanded history section should treat these hypotheses equally, from the first paragraph, rather than advance any one group's hypothesis (currently the Turkic one). Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:25, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

First of all, per WP:BRD, the last stable version should stay during a discussion, so please refrain from further reverts. About Vryonis, his thesis has been explicitly confuted in Perry`s work, and he apparently never replied. This is the reason why Perry`s thesis is accepted in the article. Please read the Archives about it. Alex2006 (talk) 05:35, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
P.S. I just read the German article, and I can`t see the difference with the English one. The central theory is always that from Perry. Please see also the last thread on the German talk page. Alex2006 (talk) 05:51, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
The German article presents two different hypotheses equally. (That oven baked desserts like baklava came out of the bakeries of sedentary Anatolian urban culture or that layered bread desserts came out of the nomadic Turkic traditions, which lacked ovens.) This article has relegated the pre-Turkic Anatolian hypothesis to the end of a poorly formatted bullet point list. Just from the references in the original version of this article, it is clear that honey and nut baked sweets were very popular in the pre-Turkic Anatolian and Greek region. Vyronis and Perry are competing hypotheses, both of which the reader will need to consider. In any case, secondary sources like Vyronis and Perry are little better than wikipedia editors themselves. What is important is a presentation of the primary sources (such as Deipnosophistae and Yinshan Zhenya) in a fair and evenhanded manner. This topic is not settled academically and the prevalent theories need to be presented to the reader. I would suggest that the most stable version of this article dates from 2012, at which point a well written and referenced article was edited down into a clumsy bullet list with unsupported sentence fragments such as, "But there is no evidence for this" (end of bullet point one). The history portion of this article has greatly declined in overall writing quality, to say nothing of evenhandedness, in the last two years, and I suggest fixing it. Piledhighandeep (talk) 07:20, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
As I wrote above, Perry confuted Vryonis hypothesis, so that they are not "equally competing", until Vryonis replies to Perry, which he did not do until now. Second: about the usage of primary sources, please read: Wikipedia:No original research. Third (again): German Wikipedia (which is NOT a source) does not put all the hypotheses on the same level, as you affirm. The editor writes : "Die meisten Thesen gehen davon aus, dass aufgrund des Blätterteigs die Herkunft in Zentralasien liegt." at the beginning of the paragraph, so the weight is given on the Central Asian origin. Then follow the other theses. Moreover, the editor writes in the talk page: "So sollte es (the thesis of Perry) als Hauptthese im Artikel stehen." The bullet list improves readability, but could also be removed: let`s wait for the opinion of other editors. Alex2006 (talk) 08:56, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Perry's "confutation" as you call it is just another theory. Vryonis is 86 years old. He will not be 'replying' to Perry. Scholarship does not work like a wikipedia Talk page debate. If you look here (http://www.pacificainstitute.org/index.php/activities/festivals/item/83-charles-perry-food-historian-and-co-founder-culinary-historians-of-southern-california), we have a discussion by Perry of baklava. It is stated that Perry says "Once Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks it was not only renamed Istanbul it was repopulated." This is an egregious historical error. Constantinople was referred to officially as Kostantiniyye by the Ottomans and was not "renamed Istanbul." This persisted until after WWI. The name Istanbul was used colloquially, it is true, but that was a Greek name for the city in use long before the arrival of the Turks in the Middle East, see Names of Istanbul. Perry is wrong here. He can well be wrong about baklava. Vryonis was an academic Byzantine scholar; Perry was a newspaper food critic. It appears that his depth of knowledge of the Byzantine world is not as deep as that of Vryonis. In any case, the origin of baklava is an open question that is why both sides need to be presented equally. (Generally an academic scholar like Vryonis would be given more weight, but in the interest of wikipedia's egalitarianism I'd understand presenting Perry and Vryonis' arguments equally.) The bullet points in the history section are a mess as anyone can see. They are 'refuted' with elementary school level unreferenced sentence fragments such as "But there is no evidence for this" (end of bullet point one). This page was more professionally written in 2012 before it was ransacked for what appear to be partisan reasons. Anyone who looks at the history of this page can see it needs an evenhanded overhaul, or reversion to its 2012 state. I am too new to wikipedia to have the stature to debate you on this apparently, but I hope others will look at the history of this page and rectify the situation. (Also, this page is full of primary sources. I have added none, so I do not understand your Wikipedia:No original research reference.) Piledhighandeep (talk) 09:30, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
The essay of Perry is twenty years old, and 20 years ago Vryonis had for sure the possibility to confute it. Scholarship do work as I am saying: try for example to publish a paper about the effects of pulsed high frequency electromagnetic fields on the human body (I am talking about my personal experience now, sorry), and look what happens. :-) About Perry`s mistake, long long time ago I found a giant mistake in the book "Rome, profile of a city" of a certain Richard Krautheimer: I wrote a letter to him, and somewhere I should have his kind answer. Everyone makes mistakes (like me and also like you, when you affirm that "Istanbul" was a colloquial name of the city in the Ottoman age: read about that Mantran, "La vie quotidienne..."). It is also false describing Perry as a food critic. The article that you mention says: "He is a food historian and co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California. He has made a specialty of studying the food of the Islamic world and has translated four medieval Arabic cookbooks, gathered from libraries in Cairo and Istanbul. One of his translations has been translated into Turkish and will be published in Istanbul next month.". Describing as a "newspaper food critic" someone who translated four books from medieval Arabic is a little bit reductive. BTW, Perry`s work is highly regarded by Andrew Dalby, which contributed to this discussion two years ago. One question: which version of 2012 do you find good? Alex2006 (talk) 10:02, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm glad we have both published papers; however, Perry's "published" work is not peer-reviewed as I'm sure your scientific paper was. Perry is not recognized as a "culinary historian" by any university or other scholarly peer-reviewed body. Vryonis received his Ph.D. at Harvard and was a professor at UCLA and at New York University, which means he was recognized by his peers for his scholarship, scholarship that was peer reviewed. Perry is recognized only by the so-called "Culinary Historians of Southern California" social club in LA that he himself co-founded. I would find it highly unusual for someone of the stature of Prof. Vryonis to bother replying to someone like Perry, particularly in the pre-wikipedia days. Perry has clearly spent some time translating Arabic and Turkish works, but that does not give him any depth of knowledge in the Greek and Byzantine world to refute a Byzantine origin theory. I have already shown that Perry makes some egregious errors in missing Byzantine origins (such as the origin of the name Istanbul), and this is likely due to his insufficient knowledge of Byzantine scholarship and the Byzantine world. He may have value in proposing an alternate Turkic theory, but he does not have the intellectual background to confute other origin theories, particularly Byzantine ones. Piledhighandeep (talk) 18:25, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I got your point. On the other side, food history is not yet an established academic discipline, and I wonder if the knowledge of Vryonis in this field (ancient Greek and Byzantine food) is as deep as that of someone that, although not being a scholar, is studying this subject since years. If it is a problem of source reliability, you should bring this issue to the Reliable Sources noticeboard. In the meantime, is appropriate to put the POV tag at the top of the paragraph which according to you is biased. Greetings to beautiful SF. :-) Alex2006 (talk) 19:05, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! Vryonis' depth of exposure to the vast corpus of the written works of Byzantine culture is very important to his understanding the meaning of food references, which are seldom explicit recipes using words whose ancient connotations are clear, but I'll agree with you that Perry's culinary background is important too. Both Perry's and Vryonis' ideas have merit. I think the history section should start with the Topkapi kitchens and Janissary procession, which are known facts and are related to each other. Then a new paragraph on pre-Ottoman origins should say "one theory is…" (either Turkic or Byzantine could go first), and then a following paragraph would say, "another theory is…" Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:48, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to second Piledhighandeep's suggestions for revisions; these suggestions seem quite reasonable to me, and to bring some balance to the article that the academic literature on the question would very much seem to support. Perhaps PHD could draft a new opening along the lines just suggested and we could review it here before it goes up? We should be drawing on the best sources we can, and all other things being equal, this means a presumption of superiority for peer-reviewed academic work over non-. At the very least, it supports a more balanced opening, which is, I take it, Piledhighandeep's primary goal. Mundart (talk) 07:19, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
I would suggest leaving the opening as is and moving the Janissaries up to keep the historically recorded Ottoman chronology together, "Although the early history of baklava is not well documented, there is evidence that its current form was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul.(Perry) Beginning in the 17th century the Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries every 15th of the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession called the Baklava Alayı (Wasti).____new paragraph____The pre-Ottoman antecedents to baklava are less clear. One theory suggests that Turkic peoples brought baklava-like foods with them when they entered Anatolia in the Middle Ages. A medieval recipe for a sort of proto-baklava is Güllaç etc.____new paragraph____Another theory suggests that baklava-like layered desserts were native to the urban cuisines of Anatolia and surrounding regions etc. (Or, the order of these two theories could be flipped.) Piledhighandeep (talk) 09:49, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Summarising, on the Greek side there is Vryonis, whose work, as I read today, has been attacked by several parts for not being objective (but he replied to that). On the other side there are:

  • Charles Perry, who is not a scholar but confutes Vryonis and never got a reply from him in the last twenty years;
  • Paulina Lewicka, professor at Warsaw, an academic source;
  • Alan Davidson, author of the standard reference book about food and research fellow at Oxford;
  • Mary Isin, specialized in Ottoman cuisine;
  • Claudia Roden, a cultural anthropologist and food writer, who founds no evidence for baklava in Arab, Greek, or Byzantine sources before the Ottoman period;

It is interesting to notice that in the last 20 years none of the scholars and food writers which known to me followed Vryonis thesis, but all preferred the Turkic thesis. So the weight tilts anyway on the Turkish origin side. Alex2006 (talk) 08:09, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

It should be for some reason. I am also sure none of those writers would use an ironic title like "Curious Turkic Origin" which shows a prejudice. --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 08:14, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Lewicka mentions baklava's origin once only and cites Perry for it, so that is not an independent reference at all. Isin refers to the Topkapi and the Janissary procession, which is something all agree on (namely the Ottoman palace's use of the food). Claudia Roden is yet another newspaper food writer. There are a host of newspaper and culinary book writers who have written on both sides of this issue as we can see from the citations on this article. I'm not suggesting we need to privilege one of the theories. They should just be evenly presented. Also, the layered bread argument that Perry and Davidson make relates to phyllo, which has its own wikipedia article. Baklava differs from phyllo in that it involves layered bread with nuts and honey between the layers. An ancient Greek layered dessert with nuts and honey between the layers is indisputably attested in the Deipnosophistae cited in the baklava article, and although Perry argues that the layers of this ancient dessert were not dough, as Vryonis had claimed, the layered dessert is clearly there. It appears there is evidence for influence in baklava from the local native Byzantine cuisine of layered nut and honey desserts as well as the layered dough traditions that the nomadic Turks used to make thick bread in a pan without having ovens. Let's have the article reflect that. Piledhighandeep (talk) 09:32, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
You forgot Davidson, who is the leading authority about food. About Lewicka, I never said that this is an independent reference, but the fact that she cites Perry means that she considers Perry a reliable source. Do you know any food book where Vryonis` thesis is mentioned? About Gastris, I baked it once, some years ago (I like cooking and prepared a greco-roman meal for my friends), and was a great success. :-) But there was no dough in the recipe (from Dalby`s book), which was written neat the original one. BTW, what I find much more similar to baklava is the Placenta from Cato, which is a layered bread. One could almost say: placenta PLUS gastris = baklava! But this is OR...
Here are some references (the links go directly to the pages of interest, so you can easily read them), outlining a Byzantine origin for baklava. By the way, we agree gastris is not baklava, the debate centers around koptoplakous, whose translation suggests something cut and layered broadly. I think both theories (Turkic and Byzantine) are interesting and need to be presented as equally possible. 1) "Food in Motion the Migration of Foodstuffs and Cookery Techniques from the Oxford Symposium on Food Cookery,"[2] which states that the ancient writer Athenaios describes koptoplakous as being like baklava and further states that the Byzantines had another similar layered food called trahanopita based on the Byzantine (and Modern Greek) trahana along with the layered food now know as tyropita, which was called "plakountas tetyromenous" and described by Artemithoros and Polydefkis. 2) Also, Hesiod,[3] who describes a "thin wrapped cake full of sesame and seeds." If only our ancient Turkic and Greek sources had pictures! Piledhighandeep (talk) 23:23, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ Speros Vryonis The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, 1971, p. 482
  2. ^ "Food in Motion the Migration of Foodstuffs and Cookery Techniques from the Oxford Symposium on Food Cookery"
  3. ^ "Hesiod"
  • Baklava experts, why is there a Turkish company selling baklava in Athens and there is no Greek one doing the same in Ist..., sorry Constantinoupolis? --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 07:06, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion and the recent edits contain some very valid points, and some rather silly ones. Among the silly ones:
  • The fact that there is a Turkish company selling baklava in Athens and not vice versa -- this has absolutely nothing to do with the origin of the dish centuries ago. I bet that there are coffee shops run by US companies in Turkey (Starbucks) but I don't think there are coffee shops run by Turkish companies in the US -- surely that doesn't prove that coffee was introduced into Turkey by Americans.
  • Claims like "I'd expect that other Near Eastern origins (Armenian, Assyrian) are also well supportable" are pure speculation in the absence of reliable sources. Yes, we know that many groups would like to claim the invention of baklava, but where are the reliable sources?
  • Pointing out that phyllo is a Greek word for 'leaf' again tells us nothing about the origin of the dish, any more than the fact that yufka is the Turkish word for 'leaf' does: which came first for describing pastry is an interesting question, but as far as I know, we have no information one way or the other on this. As it happens, in English, the word phyllo is far more common than the work yufka -- so what?
Getting to the more substantive arguments, yes, the Turkish nomads had no tradition of oven baking or (as far as I know) of leavened bread. But this is in fact one of the clever things in Perry's hypothesis. His claim is precisely that in the absence of baked bread, the nomads invented folded, unleavened bread. So this is not an argument against the hypothesis. After all, baklava dough isn't leavened. Interestingly (as User:Piledhighanddeep mentions), Vryonis mentions as part of Türkmen cuisine exactly the "type of unleavened wafer prepared on a portable hot iron" that Perry discusses. Following his footnote (p. 291 of Byzantine Legacy and Ottoman Forms) to the source, the 15th century writer Bertrandon de la Broquière, we find that Bertrandon mentions "cakes... a foot broad, round, and thinner than wafers: they fold them up as grocers to their papers for spices, and eat them filled with the curdled milk [sc. yogurt]".[6] So here we have direct evidence for folded wafer-thin unleavened pastry with filling among the Türkmen, though not for nuts or butter or syrup. Perry also cites other central Asia folded breads, the Uzbek poshkal, the Tatar yoka, etc., and in particular a sort of folded bread called qatma yuvgha, and finally the Azerbaijani Baki pakhlavasi (though he doesn't give any evidence about how old this dish is). Perry does not claim that the "vastly more refined baklava familiar to the world today" is identical to any of these, but rather that these are its roots.
As for the quality of the sources, of course, Vryonis is a very distinguished and respected scholar with a special interest in the transition between the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. If he had written an article on the history of baklava and the like, obviously we would want to benefit from it. As it is, he has not. Instead, there is one paragraph on cuisine in his "Byzantine Legacy and Ottoman Forms", which relies on Koukoules for the presence of "oriental sweets" in the Deipnosophistai. But Perry has reviewed Koukoules (which I don't have) and Athenaeus's description more carefully, and it says nothing about layered pastry, only about something like layers of sesame halva surrounding nuts and honey.
I agree that many of the other sources are either weak or derivative. Alan Davidson is surely relying on Perry. John Ash's book doesn't have footnotes, so we don't know where he got the notion that "baklava [is] well-attested in Byzantine and classical texts". Rena Salaman is primarily interested in the question of why there are no fish dolmathes, and mentions as an aside that koptoplakous is "our modern familiar baklava", but with no sources at all, not even a bibliography. On the other hand, Mary Işin looks promising, as she has worked directly with Ottoman sources -- but I don't have her book yet. Claudia Roden is a good source, though she's not an academic.
So, as far as I can tell, we have a strong (though surely not proven) hypothesis from Perry, and little or no evidence at all for other hypotheses. In particular, where is the folded dough in the Byzantine or ancient sources? The article can only reflect our current knowledge of the field as reflected in reliable sources, and that seems to be the state of the field's understanding. Naturally, it would be great if we could find stronger sources (regardless of what they say). --Macrakis (talk) 03:31, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I know I am silly because I had thought no-one would take seriously my joke about "Güllüoğlu Baklava", which, in the end -I believe- had to close (?) their business in Athens due to the economic crisis in Greece. But I think I was even sillier to hope that the discussion on who invented the dough leaves (known as filo in Greek and yufka in Turkish) would finish with this edit of mine but I see that it didn't. Therefore I have nothing else left to begin that there is a strong desire on part of the participants to try to change the truth about about baklava; or, better said, on how to present that truth here in WP. Thanks. --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 04:12, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Mackakis, I think Rena Salaman's title was meant to be whimsical. The point of her piece is not really just fish dolmades. Also, she cites the ancient authors by name (they are lexicographers mostly and so the words she references can be found in them). The lack of standard bibliography is probably because it was a symposium. Anyway, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with an article that simply makes a choice because Perry does, but if this becomes the consensus then ok. I find your quote from Bertrandon de la Broquière, supporting the Turkic theory, fascinating and suggestive, "cakes... a foot broad, round, and thinner than wafers: they fold them up as grocers to their papers for spices, and eat them filled with the curdled milk," and think it should be included in the baklava and filo articles. I also think that there are two questions here, the origin of filo, dealt with in the filo article, and the origin of baklava, dealt with here. Baklava is both filo and layered honey, nuts etc. This layered honey nut dessert does have some roots in the region, as you mentioned Perry agrees that layered honey nut desserts of some kind (perhaps not using dough) are found in Ancient Greek works, and I'd still lean to pulling that discussion of the classical antecedents for such layered honey nut desserts out of the strange position it is currently in, as the last bullet point of an otherwise unreferenced bullet point list. Baklava is differentiated from other filo dishes by this layering of honey and nuts, and that contribution may well be from the native people of the region. (As an aside Hesiod's thin pastry, containing as it does sesame, is unlikely to itself have been made from sesame as Perry suggests the layers of kopton were.) I do see the rationale for keeping the initial Central Asian (Turkic) paragraphs (and the Central Asian thesis) where they are, and think, again, that your Bertrandon quote might be worth adding to further strengthen that Turkic argument. Thanks to everyone for putting so much time into this. Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:40, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Though Bertrandon's quote is suggestive, and worth discussing on Talk, it (a) is a primary source and (b) does not explicitly refer to baklava, so connecting it to baklava would be original research and thus not suitable for the article.
Similarly, though it is an attractive hypothesis that the legacy of ancient Greek honey-nut dishes was combined with the tradition of folded-dough dishes to produce baklava, that too is original research and not supported by any evidence I know of. In particular, I suspect that there are also honey-nut dishes in Persian and other cuisines in the region.
As for Salaman, I don't think the title is whimsical at all. Her article points out that all sorts of things are stuffed in Greek cooking -- pastry, meat, leaves, flowers, vegetables, etc. -- and stuffed with all sorts of things -- cheese, trahana, onions, meat, rice, raisins, pine nuts. She also has a very confused paragraph about a Pontian dish (later she calls it a Byzantine dish, but in neither case gives any chronological or bibliographical information) called koftathes, which she speculates (without any evidence) comes from the Greek verb kopto, not the Perso-Turkish noun kofta. In any case, she asserts that fish stuffing is not found in modern Greek cooking -- though she does mention chicken stuffed with fish in the 11th century -- , and she speculates about why. She then presents a recipe for seafood wrapped in vine leaves avgolemono. I don't think there's much here we can use. --Macrakis (talk) 22:21, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Mackakis, yes that recipe was evidently Rena Salaman's contribution to what literally looks to have been a symposium. However, Rena Salaman is important, I thought, because she does spend a page discussing the several types of layered dishes described from classical through Byzantine times, such as koptoplakous (layered nut and honey) and plakountas tetyromenous (layered cheese) that parallel the modern filo layered dishes. So, there is a secondary source for that origin theory (i.e. Salaman), basing its argument (as she does) on a succession of ancient lexicographers (spanning the classical and byzantine period, Artemithoros is one of them). This is important, because, if we agree with Perry that kopton was layers of sesame-halva surrounding nuts and honey, and if we are going to say that koptoplakous was the same, then what was plakountas tetyromenous? Layers of sesame-halva surrounding cheese? Rena and others make the argument that all these layered dishes described by classical writers were similar (or at least antecedents) to the current spectrum of layered dishes found in the same geographic region; namely, tiropita, baklava, etc. Also, I'm not 100% comfortable with an article that simply makes Perry's choice, since he has gotten some basic Byzantine history wrong (‡see end of this post), and since his depth in this Byzantine/classical area is not as great, I think, as the alternative authors (Rena Salaman and Vryonis). Wouldn't presenting both well researched theories, as equals, be better? (Apologies, some of this material was included in an edit I had made to my original Talk post, before anyone had yet replied to it, but this Talk post edit was removed by User:Why should I have a User Name?, who seems annoyed with me right now.)
‡If you look here (http://www.pacificainstitute.org/index.php/activities/festivals/item/83-charles-perry-food-historian-and-co-founder-culinary-historians-of-southern-california), we have a discussion by Perry of baklava. It is reported that Perry said, "Once Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks it was not only renamed Istanbul it was repopulated." This is a bit of a historical error, since Constantinople was referred to officially by the Ottomans as Kostantiniyye until the end of the empire in the 1920s. It was not "renamed Istanbul," though that name was used in some contexts, just as it had been by locals since at least the 10th century, as recorded by Arab visitors (see Necipoglu and Names of Istanbul). Again, here we have an indigenous cultural phenomenon, the dialectal name for the city, surfacing more freely during Ottoman times, but having an older native Byzantine origin, which Perry seems to oversimplify or miss. Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Just to be clear about this issue, Piledhighandeep: Necipoglu says, like Mantran, that Kostantiniyye and Istanbul were the names used alternatively by the Ottomans during their rule (and in fact Mantran alternates the two names Constantinople and Istanbul in his books ). See Gülru Necipoğlu (2010). "From Byzantine Constantinople to Ottoman Kostantiniyye". In ölcer, Nazan. From Byzantion to Istanbul. p. 262. In everyday's life, Ottomans referred to their city as "Istanbul", while Kostantiniyye was the official name, used above all for political reasons (continuity with the Roman Empire, etc.). About that, see the contribute of Dogan Kuban in the same work cited above. Alex2006 (talk) 06:38, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Perry's statement, "once Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks it was not only renamed Istanbul it was repopulated," establishes a dramatic change to the city's name "renamed Istanbul" when in fact nothing changed. The formal Ottoman name stayed Kostantiniyye (it wasn't renamed Istanbul), and the informal Byzantine name (Istanbul), which had long been in use by the medieval Greek peasant masses‡, remained the same as well. (‡As recorded by 10th century Arab visitors…many many years before the appearance of Turkic tribes even in Anatolia.) Piledhighandeep (talk) 07:46, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I am not annoyed with you, at all, on the contrary sometimes you make me smile with your acts. :-) On the other hand, I am indeed quite annoyed with a pattern of edits destined to impose one's personal point of view over the truth, trying to invent justification by distorting facts and sources. I am only interested in contributions.

For the edit I removed I saw that an IP changed your contribution to the talk page and just removed that. It was so simple for you to revert my removal, putting in the edit summary that the IP was yours. You are very new here so maybe you don't know everything very well; maybe you should give more time to explore the Wikipedia than trying to invent an origin of your own choice for baklava. Welcome again to WP and regards. --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 06:22, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

    • You removed the following words from your mouth, but they were amongst those which made me smile the most: "You might find it interesting, as an aside, that we do know the genes of Anatolians changed almost not at all (see Cavalli Sforza on the very high genetic similarity of Greek and Turkish populations). That's what happens when a small nomadic population slowly enters a large densely populated urbanized region (Anatolia) with population levels that only sedentary agriculture can support. Personally, I doubt cuisine changed much either (it didn't change much in Mexico, which witnessed a similar language switch by the natives to Spanish and religious switch by them to Catholicism, but again a weak genetic change), but that is what we are trying to determine here by looking at what others have said and found." (User:Piledhighandeep) Cheers! --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 08:14, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Why did this make you smile? If you are interested, it turns out that Greek, Turkish, and Armenian populations are more closely related to one another (genetically) than to any other population. Cavalli-Sforza is the grandfather of these studies and the first to observe this, but if you want more info there are seven references given for this sentence on WP-- "Several studies have concluded that the historical and indigenous Anatolian groups are the primary source of the present-day Turkish population. " See, Genetic history of the Turkish people Piledhighandeep (talk) 09:10, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Urban cuisines of Anatolia[edit]

Article currently reads:

Another theory about baklava's origins is that baklava-like dishes were native to the urban cuisines of Anatolia and surrounding regions. Servants, including cooks, in the Ottoman Topkapı Palace were recruited from the native (pre-Turkic) non-Muslim inhabitants of the empire through the devşirme system, and baked nut and honey based sweets were popular ancient desserts in the region. In fact, baklava may have also been a common Byzantine dessert.

There is a footnote at the end to John Ash's Byzantine Journey. The only thing Ash says about baklava is that it is "well-attested in Byzantine and classical texts". But, as I've mentioned above, he doesn't footnote this claim (the book has no footnotes), so it's not very helpful. Anyway, the next paragraph already mentions Vryonis's statement, which is a much better source. As for the "urban cuisines of Anatolia" and the servants recruited by the devşirme etc., this is not found in Ash, and doesn't sound right anyway. The devşirme supplied the military and the bureaucracy: do we have any evidence that it supplied cooks? If so, let's see the sources. On the other hand, there were surely non-Muslim cooks and influences from non-Turkic cuisine in the imperial palace. But again, that tells us nothing specific about baklava. --Macrakis (talk) 23:51, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

I am sure you know very well, Macrakis that that portion is not even a synthesis but pure Original Research by a contributor obsessed with imposing their view of the issue. Thanks for your -as far as I could see in a short time- constructive edits to Wikipedia, not only on this but on several other articles I had a look at or contributed to. Heartfelt regards. --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 06:12, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
On the devşirme, a famous non-military, non-bureacrat devşirme recruit was Mimar Sinan the architect of Süleymaniye (see Godfrey Goodwin as cited in the Mimar Sinan article). For the question of cooks specifically, my understanding is that it was quite common for devşirme recruits to serve as cooks. They were trained for a number of functions in the palace. For instance, Köprülü Mehmed Pasha was a devshirme cook before he rose to his later fame as grand vizier, "Sultan Mehmed IV appointed the Albanian Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, who had risen from a cook serving Murad IV to a vizier in Ibrahim's Divan, to be grand vizier" from Marc David Baer's Honored by the Glory of Islam, Oxford University Press, Jan 2, 2008.[1]
Why should I have a User Name? you are making it unpleasant for me to try to explore any points with which you don't agree. Can we keep this to an intellectual discussion? I have been wrong about some things, but am I wrong about everything? Piledhighandeep (talk) 06:56, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree about the revert made by the user with the strange :-) name, in this context it is WP:OR. The Devşirme was applied not only in Anatolia, but also in the European provinces, as you rightly point out in your comment above about Köprülü. I always tought that in the kitchen of Topkapi have been working people from the whole empire (also turks, of course), so the information is interesting, but should be put neutrally and in the right context (maybe in a footnote). Doing also some OR myself, it is interesting to consider that in modern Istanbul the best dessert bakers were considered the albanians, so it is more probable that the origin of modern baklava comes from there. Alex2006 (talk) 08:01, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
WP baklava article will be read most by generalists, not the specialists. The average WP reader will not understand how the undisputed Ottoman palace origin of baklava could still leave it open whether baklava developed from cooks with Turkish cultural roots or whether other cultural influences in the Ottoman palace kitchens are truly equally likely. This provides context. We get caught up on the Talk page and forget that the average user does not have the context we do. How we write the article, including what we leave out, can greatly influence a reader's perception (or misperception). I'd prefer to put this information neutrally directly after the reference to the Ottoman palace kitchens in the first sentence of the history article, so readers realize that the attested palace origin does not of itself tell us anything about the cultural background of baklava. Since the Ottoman kitchen origin features so prominently in the first sentence, and could so easily be misunderstood by an average reader, I think a footnote is not the appropriate way to present this information. Piledhighandeep (talk) 08:24, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
You are the only reader who needs that. And you also need to learn what WP is, but you prefer not to. I can only say that you should not continue ridiculing yourself here. There is a lot more in WP. Read especially the policy and guidelines to become a good Wikipedian that I am sure you will be some day, when you leave aside your Idiosyncrasy and begin seeing things with a tabula rasa. --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 08:32, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I think that, for the reason explained above, there should be no reference to Anatolia in the text in the "Devsirme" context. As I said, Devsirme was applied also in the Balkans. Anyway, since there is consensus that baklava in its modern form was born in the kitchen of Topkapi, this means that it is an Ottoman dessert. Alex2006 (talk) 08:37, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree, definitely an Ottoman dessert, as the article intro says, but the history section discusses whether the antecedents are Central Asia or local. I also agree with you that "Anatolia and surrounding regions" could be changed to "eastern Mediterranean."Piledhighandeep (talk) 08:49, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
You cannot agree with something that people have not said. Nobody said eastern Mediterranean. All the users here disagree with you, but we do it kindly and you pretend not to understand, or you really do not understand. I don't know which one is worse. Your PhD is not on communication, that is for sure. --Why should I have a User Name? (talk) 19:51, 30 July 2014 (UTC)


Basing article's history thesis on one food writer (Perry)[edit]

Is this wise? Perry has gotten other Byzantine-Ottoman facts wrong… Piledhighandeep (talk) 20:46, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Here is a Dutch food scholar (Patrick Faas) writing recently on the origin of baklava. He states that baklava has a non-Turkic origin. Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome - Patrick Faas is the second listed work under the "References" section of the Ancient Roman cuisine wikipedia article. It was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2003. The section on placenta states,

"Placenta, then, was made of layers of sheep's cheese alternating with layers of thin tracta. The whole thing was baked in pastry dough. The dish looks like the predecessor of modern baklava, except that nowadays the sheep's cheese would be replaced with nuts. The Greeks and the Turks still argue over which dishes were originally Greek and which Turkish. Baklava, for example, is claimed by both countries. Greek and Turkish cuisine both built upon the cookery of the Byzantine Empire, which was a continuation of the cooking of the Roman Empire. Roman cuisine had borrowed a great deal from the ancient Greeks, but placenta (and hence baklava) had a Latin, not a Greek, origin--please note that the conservative, ant-Greek Cato left us this recipe. Also, placenta played a traditional role in ancient Roman religion." (Patrick Faas, 2003, p. 185)

Faas states, "Placenta... is frequently mentioned in literature. It was the base for various other kinds of sweetmeat made from the same ingredients--dough, tract, fresh cheese and honey." Here is Faas' translation of Cato's ancient recipe for Roman placenta (Faas, p.184),

"Placenta is made like this: take 2 pounds of flour for the crust and make tracta with 2 pounds of alica and 4 pounds of spelt flour…Mix the 2 pounds of flour with water and knead to make a thin base dough. Soak 14 pounds of sheep's cheese, not sour but very fresh, in water. Knead and change the water three times. Take a piece of cheese, squeeze it dry and put it in the mortar. When all the cheese has dried knead it by hand in the clean mortar, and make it as fine as possible. Then take a clean flour-sieve and press the cheese back into the mortar through the sieve. Add 4 pounds of good honey, and mix it well with the cheese. Then place the base dough, 1 four wide, on greased bay-leaves on a clean baking tray. Shape the placenta as follows: place a single row of tracta along the whole length of the base dough. This is then covered with the mixture from the mortar. Place another row of tracta on top and go on doing so until all the cheese and honey have been used up. Finish with a layer of tracta. Fold the base dough as a cover and a decoration over the contents and prick little air holes. Then place the placenta in the oven and put a preheated lid on top of it. Place hot ashes around and on top of it. Remove the lid two or three times to ensure that everything is going well. When ready, honey is poured over the placenta. That is how one makes a 4.3 litre placenta. " (Cato R.R. LXXCI as cited in Faas)

(As an aside, note that the base dough, which was folded over the top, was thicker then the tracta layers, suggesting that around this filo-like pastry there was an additional stable outer-shell, like that of a calzone, which is what Faas was referring to when he stated "the whole thing was baked in pastry dough." Perhaps this outer dough shell added convenience?)

I believe the weight of the available evidence (and all the various authors' claims) should lead to both theories (a Turkic and a pre-Turkic Byzantine/Roman) origin for layered filo based pastries being presented as equally likely in all the filo pastry wikipedia articles, including baklava. Piledhighandeep (talk) 18:39, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Hey, I have put a proposal in the history section. Piledhighandeep (talk) 01:10, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Outside Opinion for a Neutral Comprehensive History Section, Thank you![edit]

Shouldn't the history section present both highly sourced theories for the predecessors of baklava (Central Asian origin and Roman origin) as equal? Piledhighandeep (talk) 21:17, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Support. This is a very constructive idea and the sources look reliable. There is no reason to exclude them. Could you add a few quotes from the sources, perhaps a direct link to the pages involved? That would help verifiability. Thank you. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 21:54, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
The article should have all theories with solid sources. That is just basic WP policy. Though the particular text that Phd added could no doubt be improved, a blanket revert is not a constructive way to do that. --Macrakis (talk) 22:04, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
The two relevant pages (p. 184 and 185) of the 2003 Patrick Faas, University of Chicago Press book are not viewable in the Google books preview. I transcribed almost the entirety of them in the Talk section Basing article's history thesis on one food writer (Perry). A translation of Cato's original placenta recipe is here, De Agricultura, though Faas also gives one, which I transcribed in the above in Talk link. The other available Roman theory source is 1984 Rena Salaman, "Food in Motion the Migration of Foodstuffs and Cookery Techniques" from the Oxford Symposium on Food Cookery, Vol. 2, p. 184. The 1971 Vryonis source is not available online, but his quote (p. 482-483) in full is, "Another Byzantine favorite was the so-called kopte or kopton (koptoplakous) that was the same as the Turkish baklava. This delicacy was known to Athenaeus who gives us the recipe. It was, he says, made of leaves of dough, between which were placed crushed nuts with honey, sesame, pepper, and poppy seed (Athenaeus, XIV, 647-648. Koukoules, Bios, V, 116). The börek are paralleled as early as the second century of the Christian era and throughout the Byzantine world by the plakountas entyritas, which Artemidorus and the medieval lexicographers mention (Koukoules, Bios, V, 118)." Charles Perry, who was a food columnist for the LA Times and a food history writer, is the principle proponent of the Central Asian origin thesis. Perry's 1994 chapter is also not readily viewable through Google books; however, Charles Perry wrote the filo section of this 1999 book, so you can read his argument there, Charles Perry's filo entry. Piledhighandeep (talk) 23:56, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure whom you're addressing with these arguments. There is no requirement that reliable sources be available on line. --Macrakis (talk) 02:40, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Dr.K. had asked for "a few quotes from the sources, perhaps a direct link to the pages involved" in the comment above yours, so I thought I should try to supply them? Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:31, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
I may have access to some books at my university about Middle Eastern cuisine which I know have some amount of data on Baklava and its origins. I'm pretty ssure they would come in handy. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 02:25, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Impressed, encouraged[edit]

I'd just like to express how impressed and encouraged I am by the extent of your dedication to the origins and multiethnic subtleties of this time-honoured pastry. Imagine what a better place the world would be if we focused more our species' need for disputation on things like food history. – AndyFielding (talk) 19:43, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

  • I'd like to thank the user for taking the time between heart surgeries and efforts for ending world hunger in order to point out in a hilariously ironic tone that somebody is writing on a topic he/she does not find important.

Roman origin etc.[edit]

Article currently claims that the Roman placenta was a possible origin of baklava. But Cato's recipe (as quoted) is very different from baklava. There are no nuts, and no layers separated with butter, hence no flaky layers. In fact, it is more like a lasagna dish with a cheese filling over which honey was poured. What is plausible is that soaking pastries in honey was part of the baklava recipe inherited from Roman and Greek tradition. It may be that the layering came from the Turkic tradition of folded bread, while the syrup came from the Greco-Roman tradition. But I will not put that in the article since it is WP:OR and/or WP:SYNTH. --Macrakis (talk) 03:01, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

The chopped nuts were, according to Vryonis and Salaman (both cited in the article), added at least by Byzantine times to make the variant called koptoplakous in Byzantine Greek. (This might reflect Ancient Greek influence from the dish called gastris, but that specific connection theory is WP:OR and so not mentioned.) This means that by Byzantine times the culinary culture of Constantinople had a thin layered dough dish containing chopped nuts and doused in honey after baking. This is close to baklava, but as you mention the direct connection is not proven any more than the Turkic tradition connection is proven. I suspect that the layers' flakiness would have depended on the fat content of the type of cheese used. I don't see that butter would be the only way to introduce dairy fat to the thin pastry layers (Roman 'tracta'). Or am I missing something? Piledhighandeep (talk) 23:57, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
You say above "we agree gastris is not baklava", for which Athenaios gives a recipe in 14:57 -- it is clear that it's not like baklava at all. But where is the recipe for koptoplakous? Have you looked at the text of Athenaios?
Re flakiness, I don't see how a mixture of cheese and honey spread between dough could possibly give a flaky result. Think of the texture of the first layer of filo under the filling in a tiropita.... This clearly seems to be a recipe for a sort of sweet lasagna dish.
Where is the evidence for "a thin layered dough dish containing chopped nuts and doused in honey after baking"? We have evidence for a dish containing layers of dough and cheese, and for a dish of sesame and nuts, and for dishes being doused in honey, but where is the evidence for the flaky layers or for the combination of flaky layers and nuts? Faas claims that baklava derives from placenta, but he doesn't explain the evolution.
Re Salaman, she misrepresents what Athenaios says (as we've seen, there is nothing like baklava in that text), and says that Artemidoros's kopton is "almost certainly the same" as Athenaios's koptoplakous. She doesn't give source references for Artemidoros or Polydefkis, which makes it difficult to check sources.
By the way, somewhere along the line, the Perry refutation of the Vryonis statement has disappeared. I will restore it. This is getting tiresome. --Macrakis (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
I suspect Salaman, like Vryonis, is just restating and oversimplifying Koukoules with her reference to Athenaios. I agree it would be most productive to actually obtain Koukoules' relevant volume. Unfortunately, my university has only the first volume. I'm not totally convinced by the lasagna connection. Couldn't it have been more like tiropita (which seems related to baklava to me) rather than lasagna? The modern placenta lexical descendants in Romania are more bread/pastry-like than pasta/lasagna. Was lasagna-like semolina pasta around in ancient Rome? Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:40, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Just one other quick comment. The situation is also confused, because the words and dishes seem to have changed over the millennium we are considering (Greco-Roman through Byzantine period). Perhaps, koptoplakous was a chopped nut with sesame layers dish at one point, but, if plakous became identical with Roman placenta (which clearly wasn't a sesame layer dish) then mightn't koptoplakous have referred (in Byzantine times) to a placenta like dough dish, but with chopped nuts instead of cheese? Salaman doesn't discuss this topic, and Vryonis simply doesn't go into any details. It would be nice to see authors actually acknowledge the changing meaning of culinary words over time, a phenomenon which seems to have happened in the case of plakous, but most authors treat the words as timeless, which, if it were true, would simplify the entire discussion, because we already know what modern Romanian placinta is. (e.g. Bougatsa vs. Foccacia for pastries/breads with a common Roman lexical ancestor, but rather changed over the intervening centuries.) Piledhighandeep (talk) 18:24, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

History section[edit]

I have fixed the actual history of baklava highlighting Güllaç as a predecessor of the dessert, which is really a further angle to the Central Asian theory. Also, it is important to understand that etymology-based fringe such as "proto-Baklava" have no value, unless they are referenced from a known source. The current section makes it clear that the actual origins are not that clear. If there is a new source that somehow proves the Central Asian link, or the other placenta-cake theory, please do add it to the article.

I have added also something worth mentioning, which was uncomplete before, relating to an unsourced claim about a recipe from Al-Baghdadi. "The only original manuscript of Al-Baghdadi's book survives at the Süleymaniye Library in Istanbul (Turkey) and according to Charles Perry, "for centuries, it had been the favorite cookbook of the Turks"" The citations are lacking for this section, in order for us to know if it is indeed part of the Central Asian theory mentioned by Perry, a separate theory or another POV-claim. Also, Speros Vryonis is an American scholar, not a Byzantine scholar. --92slim (talk) 04:33, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Added another source, proving the theory of Central Asian pastry. The source has an appendix by Perry, and mentions Güllaç as the origin of the dessert. --92slim (talk) 04:39, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

I have effectively found out that the Al-Baghdadi theory mentioned before is indeed legit and fixed the article accordingly, with a source that mentions the lacking information about the supposed origins. It might be part of the Central Asian tradition, but it is mentioned differently in the actual source that I found, so I have added it as a 3rd source. --92slim (talk) 05:25, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Can you explain why you are deleting the Claudia Rosen source, and why you labeled my reinsertion of it "vandalism," and then removed it again? Also, Vryonis is an American, but I'm not sure that is relevant to the article. Perhaps Byzantinist is the word you are looking for here. With these three theories we also need to discuss a neutral way of ordering them that is not simply a subjective preference based ordering. Piledhighandeep (talk) 17:32, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
First of all, it's Claudia Roden, not Rosen. Your edits are a mix of rewording of a political nature, which is forbidden in Wikipedia, as to imply the dish couldn't have a Persian or Arab origin because you think so, unfortunately Roden was used before the Persian bit and the Arab book which justifies the Turkish origin were introduced by me. And the dish is most probably not Byzantine (it's Roman, not Byzantine). All I did was put things in chronological order, which you obviously have no interest in keeping. The way it's now it implies that the dish is Byzantine, which is in fact just a weak theory (if you cared to read the above conversations), but according to the variety of sources that I included, the article it's not neutral now because of your rewording. I have no time for these banal arguments about origins, just to let you know why I classified your random edits as vandalism. --92slim (talk) 00:55, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
TL:DR - Your edit is a blatant violation of WP:NPOV. Sorry. --92slim (talk) 01:25, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Edit-summary comments alleging vandalism against good-faith editors must stop since they are a violation of WP:AGF and WP:CIVIL. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 18:03, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
There is no such thing as good-faith editors; there is good-faith. I hope that applies here, thanks. --92slim (talk) 00:56, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
I am not going to start playing semantics with you. Sure there is such thing as good-faith editors. They are the editors who contribute in good faith and are in good standing within the community because of their good editing record and their contributions which are performed in good-faith. Accusing them of vandalism ignores WP:AGF and is a violation of WP:CIVIL and you should stop trying to justify it. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 01:56, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Alright. --92slim (talk) 02:02, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 02:33, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
92slim I think we got off on the wrong foot. I don't have any opinion on an Arab or Persian origin, and I am not the one who put the Claudia Roden reference there. (Thank you for your spelling correction.) I was just trying to ask why you removed it, since my understanding was that much discussion went into putting it there. My understanding of past discussions was that that the Arab and Persian angles were not strongly supported by scholars, and I noticed that your citation of Gil Marks' recipe for baklava, which itself has no citations in it, does not meet the standards that have been applied to other scholarly history references in this article. (There are many recipe books with many unreferenced claims for the dish's origins, but for citations editors have tried to restrict sources to those that are themselves scholarly and sourced with references.) However, I'm completely fine with leaving your interesting Persian origin discussion, since I think there is much that is unknown in this history, and I've never been a huge supporter of limiting information, I'm just going to point out that others might express concern in the future. My main concern is simply that since this article attracts so much debate we should have a clear reason for the ordering of the history, which could be seen as privileging one of the three main theories over another. Piledhighandeep (talk) 18:27, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
No problem. I can see you weren't acting in a political manner. It gets tiring of seeing users with big convictions to support theories that are just impossible (proto-Baklavas and all that swine), but I put the Persian origins in the article because the theory is an actual explanation for the Turkic origin theory, and that's where it originated from. Before, the article was full of fringe information; at least, it makes sense in the way of a timeline of history; neither of the theories actually make a great deal of sense when viewed separately, but they are there in case someone who actually knows about the subject wants to edit it themselves. It could be anything, but as far as I understand all of the theories are almost based on speculation, apart from the "15th century Jannisary and the Sultan story" (I have read them carefully) - I have just fixed the fringe. So thank you, after all. --92slim (talk) 22:46, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Correction: the Mongol theory is not based on speculation. It does resemble a baklava. "It consists of layers of phyllo dough that are put one by one in warmed up milk with sugar" --92slim (talk) 23:03, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Gastrin[edit]

An editor added Gastrin (a Greek baklava-like dessert) to the article and claims already justified by sources again, with the past fringe too. Please, if you want to add about it, which I guess you have taken from here:

Then you have to source your claims. --92slim (talk) 01:40, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Tiresome warring[edit]

This is getting really tiresome. It's a good thing that we have some additional, fairly well documented material on the history of baklava. However, what is a bad thing is that the whole section on Perry's theory has been removed. Now I need to look at the history of the article, see when it was removed, and try to splice it back in. This is really not the way constructive editing is supposed to work. --Macrakis (talk) 02:24, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree with you. In fact, this is not constructive editing, but disruptivre editing. Alex2006 (talk) 04:07, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Place of origin of the dish[edit]

I would like to add to this and state that the 'Place of Origin' on the right, beneath the image, should be 'Disputed', since we don't actually know its origin. Even in the History section of this article we give a different potential origin: "The oldest (2nd century BCE) recipe that resembles a similar dessert is the honey covered baked layered-dough dessert placenta of Roman times, which Patrick Faas identifies as the origin of baklava..." Unless we're undermining our own article, clearly the origin is disputed. Why are we simply saying that it's Ottoman? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.3.203.216 (talk) 01:25, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

I think that here there is a misunderstanding: for a dish, "place of origin" does not describe the place/region where the evolution which brought to this dish started, but the place where according to the first documented proofs (recipe books, reports, etc.) the dish "as we know it" was attested. Now, for Baklava, this is without discussion the Ottoman Empire (which does not mean Turkey). Neither Gastris, nor Placenta, nor the layered breads of Central Asia were similar to modern Baklava. Adopting your point of view, we should consequently write as "place of origin" for Pasta China, for Pizza ancient Greece, for Pastitsio Italy, and so on. Moreover, one should consider that the long, tiresome discussion on the talk page never put in discussion this fact (see history log of the article), and that the consensus version has "Ottoman Empire" as place of origin, apparently because each involved editor understood what "place of origin" in a culinary context means. Alex2006 (talk) 05:04, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
But we have documentation of recipes that resemble Baklava, albeit not with the name "Baklava". Are we claiming the place of origin of Baklava, or the name "Baklava"? If it's the latter, then we would have to revise many articles on Wikipedia because of English words borrowing from languages which are not associated with the origin of the object. If the English decided to change the name of Baklava to "Placenta", what would the place of origin be in this article? Wouldn't we make the association with Placenta and argue that although the ingredients/preparation differ to Ottoman Baklava, the origin of it is not Ottoman? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.209.121.245 (talk) 17:30, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
The name in English does not play any role here: your reasoning would have some sense only if the Ottomans would have named the dish "placenta": in that case we would have had a linguistic hint (but nothing more of a hint) about its origin. Since this is not the case (and this could be a hint against the derivation of baklava from placenta), ingredients and preparation are crucial. By Placenta and the other "precursor" dishes they are simply too different from what is now baklava (see below, comment of @Macrakis:). And, as I wrote before, in the gastronomic articles we define as place of origin the place/region where the dish as we know now was first attested. Alex2006 (talk) 08:41, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Okay, so if one were to create a dish just like Baklava but were to add, say, cinnamon as an extra ingredient and were to give it a different name, would it no longer be considered as Baklava and would its place of origin differ?
I don't believe any of our sources (or the article) claims that baklava as we know it is pre-Ottoman. There are various proposals for foods that may have become baklava, but none (including Perry's proposed Turkic antecedents) seem to have the combination of thin pastry layers separated by fat, crushed nut filling, and syrup. --Macrakis (talk) 01:03, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

fix the history section please[edit]

Baklava was invented by Kurds in Kurdistan using Kurdish materials, Baklava has Antep peanuts in it, which is in a Kurdish city called Antep, Baklava is a Kurdish food, and it's not Turkish. Topkapı Kitchen wasn't even in Antep. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Veteran Geezer (talkcontribs) 23:48, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

dough?[edit]

What kind of flour is used to make baklava? Wheat flour or something else? Can it be multi-grain? does it matter? 2600:1003:B01F:672E:0:30:11DA:DA01 (talk) 13:21, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

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Greek - Roman origin and Turkish propaganda[edit]

The Article points out some proove of the Greek / Byzantine / Roman Origin of Baklava as does the Article of Byzantine Cuisine. Astonishing enough that the author than states that Baklava was "invented" by Ottomans in the 16th Century and speculates that Mongol Nomads might have inveented is also. So where would they have tha Nuts, Wheat and Honey from? Yaks ususlly dont provide that.

The Article as such is a Turkish Propaganda Article and the Author should be ashamed to missuse Wikipedia for such nonsens. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 170.61.236.1 (talk) 09:22, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Turkish[edit]

Baklava is obviously Turkish the Greeks didn't invent it because they where under the ottomans at the time and baklava is a Turkish word meaning mouthfull. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamesgolding (talkcontribs) 16:48, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Who said anything about the Greeks inventing it? That's an issue for the history section for which you will need WP:RS:reliable sources. It's just a dessert. It's not a Turkish dessert, a Greek or an Ottoman dessert. Look at Apple pie. It is considered the quintessential American dessert but is not listed as an "American dessert". -- John Reaves 16:50, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
Regarding your reasoning that "the Greeks didn't invent it because they where under the ottomans at the time": What is it about being "under the ottomans" that would have rendered Greeks incapable of inventing things? Did Ottomans magically remove all creativity from all non-Turks whose lands they controlled? Your own personal reasoning doesn't belong in articles anyway, but if you're going to try to add it, at least make sure it's valid reasoning first. Largoplazo (talk) 18:18, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
The Greeks where living under the ottomans at the time the ottomans taught them new ways and new food culture they borrowed it is a bit like teaching something new to a new person and they learn from you, even sais in the article that it's likely to be invented at Topkapı Palace.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.108.137.162 (talk) 21:09, 2 June 2017 (UTC) 

Did anyone notice that the cited source for Ottoman place of origin does not support this claim (as far as i read)?

I will look at this more closely when I have a little more time.

Wikaviani (talk) 16:20, 24 December 2017 (UTC)

Etymology hypothesis: Balaklava[edit]

The Turks renamed the town of Cembalo (Yamboli) to "Fish Nest" in Turkish: Balyk Yuva, subsequently known as Balaklava. We know that foods get their names from towns where the food was served, like Wieners after Viena, Ham and Hamburgers after Hamburg, Frankfurters after one of the two cities named Frankfurt, Camembert and Cantalope - after cities with those names, and a long list of foods named after places.

On second thought, if the Turkish Fish Nest (or perhaps fishnet?) was pronounced Balaklava, what more is needed? Baqlava is made many times with the appearance of being covered by a fishnet.

A third possibility, listed in the article now, is that the origin is from Arabic, or a mixture of Turkish and Arabic. In Arabic it is called Baqlawa. Hilwa means sweet in Arabic, with the suffix Wa - the feminine ending for words. Halva - in Arabic Halwa, is the sweet middle eastern sesame food. So Baqlawa would be a similar word. بكل Bikal - to say, is short for gladly and thankfully. While بقلو Biqlu - is careful from Biqal - reduce. While Qalia - is toasted.

All that's left to do is:

a. Find out if Baqlava is or was actually served in Balaklava.
b. Find a secondary source discussing primary sources with this theory. :-)
c. Find someone who speaks Turkish and can trace down the original naming of this food in their literature, and show it to us.
d. Or find someone who speaks Arabic, who can confirm that the name might mean a toasted delicacy in Arabic. And then search the Arabic literature for that... Hoping someone picks up the glove. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 08:25, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Finding secondary sources is necessary. By the way, yuva means "nest" as seen in Bülbül yuvası, another Turkish dessert pastry. "Net" would be , which can refer to fish net, spider web, or data communications network, etc. Just plain Bill (talk) 14:27, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

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