Springtime-bordering-on-summer is out in full force in Turkey, which can mean only one thing — it’s mangal season! Now, at first glance, a mangal may seem like your run-of-the-mill picnic, but this is not your average throw-shrimp-on-the-barbie event. So to get you started on your first mangal, here’s an easy how-to recipe:
- 3 kilos*** tomatoes
- 3 kilos cucumbers
- 3 kilos peppers
- 1 kilo onions
- 10 chicken breasts
- 5 dozen köfte
- 20 loaves bread
- 2 kilos mixed nuts
- 4 dozen cookies
- 2 cakes
- 1/2 kilo loose-leaf tea
- 4 liters each Coke and Fanta
- 8 liters water
- Salt and pepper to taste
*** Remember, 1 kilo = 2.2. pounds
- 1 grill, procured from an unlikely source (e.g. dorm room)
- 2 bags charcoal
- 1 lighter (for lighting the grill and cigarettes)
- 1-2 blankets (debate cleanliness of said blankets first)
- Appropriate cooking utensils, plastic plates, cups, blah, blah, blah
- Volleyball and/or football (known in the US as a soccer ball)
Serving size: 20 people
Prep time: 1 hour to drive around town and assemble pre-purchased ingredients and equipment
Cook time: At least 8 hours for maximum fun
- Upon arrival, the male contingent sets up the grill. At least 8 people required — 2 to actually set up the grill, 6 to stand by and give unsolicited advice. After 15-20 minutes of failed attempts to start the grill, a person who was previously uninvolved in this task steps in and starts the grill in approximately 30 seconds.
- While the male contingent engages in pyromania, the female contingent quickly and efficiently unpacks the rest of the picnic. This contingent then makes a salad in record time.
- Once all the food is prepared, drop whatever you are doing and sit down on the blanket to stuff yourselves full of meat, bread, and salad.
- When it inevitably starts to rain, use your blanket and whatever else is handy to jerry-rig a makeshift shelter. Under no circumstances are you to go home.
- As the storm rages, huddle in your makeshift shelter, eating nuts and desserts, joking (usually at someone else’s expense), and playing tavla (backgammon).
- Once the sun reemerges, grab your ball for a game of football, volleyball, and/or dodgeball. The game is only finished after 3 people have been mildly injured.
- If the picnic area has paddle boats/a trampoline/bumper cars, pay for a turn with that ish. The hilarity that will ensue from misuse is worth the 2TL.
- If there is a small pond nearby, be sure to throw the ball in at least once. Seek out volunteers to rescue the lost ball. Earn bonus points for retrieval methods in a variety of categories – ingenuity, creativity, feats of engineering, shows of brute strength.
- Drink çay out of a plastic cup. Don’t question how many carcinogens you may be ingesting due to the melting plastic. The health effects of the çay will cancel them out.
- Before leaving, take photos. Lots of photos. You need at least one photo per pairing/group combination.
Afiyet olsun! Enjoy!