Eating habits of the Turkish soldier during the 16th century

There is one visible sign of this poverty: the frugality that has never failed to impress the northerner. The Fleming Busbecq, when in Anatolia, wrote in 1555, “I dare say that a man of our country spends more on food in one day than a Turk in twelve. . . . The Turks are so frugal and think so little of the pleasures of eating that if they have bread, salt, and some garlic or an onion and a kind of sour milk which they call yoghoort, they ask nothing more. They dilute this milk with very cold water and crumble breadinto it and take it when they are hot and thirsty .. • it is not only palatable and digestible, but also possesses an extraordinary power of quenching the thirst.’ This sobriety has often been noted as one of the great strengths of the Turkish soldier on campaign. He would be content with a little rice,ground meatdried in the sun, and bread coarsely cooked in the ashes of the camp fire.” The western soldier was more particular, example of the many Germans and Swiss.

Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean  and the Mediterranean world in the age of Philip II,  Harper, pg 241, 1972.

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