“Not everything can be Turkish, ha!” My triumphant exclamation followed an exchange of messages with Tamer as he shared with me what he would be creating in our kitchen this time.
“Poğaça,” he wrote.
“You mean ‘pogača’? But that’s Slovenian! ”
After all, we have the pogacha bread deeply woven in our language from old fairy tales and, last but not least, in the famous proverb: “Grain to grain, pogacha ….” Slovenian, Slavic, it definitely cannot be of Turkish origin.
Of course, I went on an etymological treasure hunt and found in Slovene digitized dictionaries the information that ‘pogacha’ comes from our western border neighbors from the Italian word ‘focaccia’. It is funny that the Turkish etymology claims the same, only that (at least after the first impression searching the web) for some reason they skipped a step with the Slavic Balkan ‘pogača’, even though the Turkish notation is damn closer to it, only their pronunciation ‘g’ is silent.
So pogacha (based on an online Turkish recipe) was on the menu that afternoon. Tamer kneaded the dough, followed the recipe carefully and let it rise. Then I chopped some garlic, parsley and red pepper for the filling, all mixed with fresh local soft cheese (labnah). The head chef skillfully shaped the balls of dough and filled them with the mixture, then coated them with whisked eggs and sprinkled sesame and black cumin seeds on top.
He took a few pieces of pogacha to the office to share with his co-workers’ (from Turkey) the next day, but we kept most of it for ourselves. It was just too good!