DASTARKHAN – SYMBOL OF WELFARE AND HOSPITALITY
Ancient stories and legends which have come down to our times tell us about lavish feasts and rich repasts which Turkmen rulers and generals made to celebrate their victories; they amazed foreign ambassadors by abundant dastarkhans, rich treat and delicate dishes. They usually organized parties to mark successful completion of an important business, national ritual ceremonies, different family celebrations. For Turkmen people meal has always meant a bit more that just eating, it is an integral component of everyday life culture, etiquette, good-neighborliness and hospitality.
Nowadays acquaintance with national cuisine helps foreign tourists to know character of Turkmen people better, to enrich their knowledge of culture of our country, to feel «taste» and «aroma» of its traditions. As in any other culture of the world, culinary traditions of the Turkmens are the result of two interrelated factors such as geographical setting and history of the people. The national cuisine has been formed for more than one thousand years. During that period it absorted traditions of the numerous neighbouring peoples, and shared its rich experience and findings with other people exchanging secrets of culinary art. Absorbing new ideas, however, the Turkmen cuisine has remained faithful to itself-lots of its traditions which were formed as long ago as in the infancy of mankind, have been kept inviolate up till our times. Nature has taught the Turkmens to value every blade of grass, every fruit or ear, even mountain and desert plants are successfully used – their delicate taste imparts piquancy to many dishes. In addition to usual dishes which are always served during the Turkmen feasts or celebration parties, these days half-forgotten recipes and culinary methods are being restored again, and totally new dishes representing an original combination of traditions and novelty are being risen.
The Turkmen cuisine includes recipes of hundreds of dainty dishes which can amaze even the most fastidious gourmet. At the same time it is a carefully thought up and time-tested feeding system. It is an encyclopedia of the unique methods and gustatory combinations. Being a unique part of legacy, the traditional national cuisine not only preserves its importance for the everyday life of Turkmenistan people but it is moving forward in the sphere of tourism industry and restaurant business, enriching itself with new regales created by the skillful cooks, connoisseurs of ancient recipes and modern food technologies who also know how to serve the cooked dishes. Superb treating has always been a good means for the establishment of friendly relations, strengthening of alliances, and sometimes even for winning hearts. In this respect the Turkmen cuisine has a great potential and possibilities offering our guests the most «delicious» way to learning unique traditions of the people as Turkmen Dastarkhan is a sort of symbol os welfare and kindness, peace and accord.