This is another dish reminding me of my childhood. This pilaf is made from peeled wheat and there is a traditional way of grinding wheat, which starts the relation with my childhood.
We used to visit my grandma living in the country every summer. As a child one of the things I loved there most was to wake up with a rythmic sound coming from outside. No not from an alarm clock or a tape recorder!
There was a big stone mortar (called dibek in Turkish) in the front yard, which is used for grinding wheat to remove their peel. It was something like a ritual. I would love to listen and watch the villagers working with this big stone.
Image taken from here.
How to grind wheat in a big stone mortar?
There must be two people standing opposite each other, the stone mortar between them. They have huge wooden mallets (is that the true word?), which are special for this work. There are nails on the end of mallets that make it easy to grind. Some wheat is washed and put into mortar. One of the villagers stroke on wheat with his mallet and the other one does the same just when the former one lifts it back. And they make a sound just like tennis players each time they hit their mallets. So they continue doing this until wheat is completely peeled. It is better if there is another person to dry the others’ sweat with a towel. Then this wheat is laid on a large cloth under sun and dried.
Stone mortars were located just in certain places in the village and my grandma’s yard was one of these places, so it was one of the wheat grinding centers for villagers. and I would love to wake up with their noise, which was the sound of labour. Dad wouldn’t like to hear it though as he was tired and wanted to sleep.
Today these mortars have become out of date and they are replaced by mills, which don’t need human labour and is faster. But I always remember the villagers grinding wheat in mortars whenever I have this pilaf.
There is another reason why this pilaf takes me to my childhood. I used to attend a lot of country weddings with my parents, which were more intimate than the weddings today. And they would always serve wheat pilaf (with lamb or chicken topping) and thimble soup together. These were the main wedding dishes in my village. All neighbors of the wedding host would come together and prepare the wedding dishes together overnight. I definitely miss those days!
So if you would like to cook wedding dishes at home, here is how. Don’t forget to check thimble soup out!