- Turkey is a major producer of pasta. Annual production is estimated to be of about 852,000 tons. The first pasta factories appeared in Izmir in 1922. Most pasta is made in Anatolia, where the wheat used in making pasta (durum wheat) is grown.
- Shoppers can buy a half-tonne (500 kg) box of pasta at supermarkets in Turkey. Because it is too heavy and too big for the shopping trolley, delivery is included in the price. Guiness World Records has declared the cardboard box—at one-and-a-half meters high and well over a meter wide—the biggest pasta box ever produced. All revenues from the sales of the massive cartons will go to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
- Turkey consumes 450,000 metric tons of pasta per year, and 6 kg per per person. About half of the domestic production is sold abroad.
- Vegetables are the most important food in Turkish cuisine, although roasted lamb and meats are also popular.
- Traditional dishes include döner kebap, a filet of meat (usually lamb or chicken) stacked on a vertical spit and roasted at high heat over a grill; köfte, (KOOF-the), ground meat (usually lamb or mutton), mixed with crumbled bread, minced onions, spices, shaped into cylinders, cooked, and served with yogurt.
- Traditional breads include lavas, (LAH-vash) a flat bread cooked on a griddle. Sometimes lavas are filled (usually with spinach and cheese) and then they are called gözleme (GUZ-leh-meh).
- Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey. It has been the capital of three great empires—Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
- According to legend, Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat, which is in Eastern Turkey.
- Turkey introduced tulips, cherries, and coffee to Europe.