Monday, December 5, 2016

As in scope or copter

The word “kebab” comes from an Arabic root meaning to burn or roast. In Turkish, “shish” means skewer. Alrighty. But wait. In Turkey, in the mid-19th century, somebody started rotating a cone of meat on a vertical spit. “Doner kebab” means “turning roast” because the Turkish word for turning is “dönmek.” The Greeks liked this food, but they hated the Turks, so they substituted their own word for turning, “gyro.” Think I’m done? I’m not done. Turkish has another word for turning, “çevirme.” So in Arabic the same food is “shawarma.” And here’s my favorite: In Persian, it’s “kebab torki.”

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