Nose to tail cappadocia mom and calf


Do you prefer brain, hoof, or tail meat?

Recently I was watching a US-based cooking show, and they were talking about the nose-to-tail food movement. According to the internet this latest trend dates to a 2004 book, but I can assure you that it is just another case of traditional living becoming hip.

In Cappadocia nose to tail cooking is the norm for the families that have lived here for generations. I witnessed this just the other day when I visited my friend, Faruk, in Göreme and watched him slaughter one of his cows and use every bit of it.


Little more than a week ago a failed coup attempt drove the last nail into the 2016 Cappadocia tourism coffin. My local friends tell me that tourism isn’t low, it is done. They have no expectations for the rest of this year (2016).

So, what are they going to do? Some of my friends are really scared for their future. They have no savings and no income. I’m praying for them. I’m not sure what they will do, especially this winter.

For many Cappadocians, however, the current situation will be weathered without much worry. Despite the modernization of Turkey and the 5-Star hotels that dot the hillsides, these locals still live very traditional lifestyles. They have gardens, orchards, and vineyards. All of my neighbors own acres of land in the area. They grow vegetables which they can for the winter. They dry their fruits and save them. They make pekmez from their grapes and vinegar from the grape vines. They own chickens and eat the eggs. With all of this, they only need to shop for a few items in the winter. In addition they own their houses and so have minimal expenses. They’ll be fine this winter.


This brings me back to my friend Faruk and the cow. Faruk owns four cows (five before this). The top photo shows his 2 week old calf with its mother.

I happened to show up in the middle of a family event, everyone was helping in the “harvesting”, and was treated to quite an education. Literally every part of the cow is put to good use.
* They sell the hide to a leather factory. Surprisingly, the hide is not very valuable. They expect to only get about $10 for it.
* The meat is cut up and frozen.
* The head is split open so the brains can be saved and eaten later (probably in soup).
Nose to tail cappadocia removing brain
* The tail is scraped clean of any meat.
* The hooves are put in a fire and then the hard nails are cut off leaving the soft feet which will be boiled and eaten. Faruk told me that these are good for joints. Eat these in the winter and your knees won’t hurt. (See photos below)
Nose to tail cappadocia faruk feet
Nose to tail cappadocia feet
* The intestines are cleaned and will be used for sausage.
* The stomach is cut open, cleaned out, boiled, scraped (See photo below) and will be used in soup.
Nose to tail cappadocia stomach

How does this sound?

Often as families grow in economic prosperity they leave behind their traditional ways, acquire the latest technology and appliances, and let others do the “dirty” work that used to be normal.

Many in Cappadocia have bucked this trend. Faruk owns three hotels, has traveled the world, and speaks excellent English. But if you visit his house, you would not know that he has $20 to his name. He throws away nothing, has cows and chickens in his yard, has an old TV and an ancient van, and no dishwasher nor dryer (I think he does have a washing machine).

I wonder what his four kids will do when they grow up? Will they maintain the traditional lifestyle? They would be wise to follow the example of their parents. Time will tell.

This year touristy Cappadocia is experiencing the farming equivalent of a really bad crop, but the literally good crops that its farmer residents are harvesting are saving the locals from disaster.

What would you do if you lost all your income with little hope of getting it back for months?

Learn a lesson from the Cappadocians!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, here’s what you can do. Please share this post with your friends by clicking on one of the buttons to the left side. Also, you may want to subscribe to these posts. Click here and follow the instructions. One of my goals is to help people who will visit Cappadocia. This is your way to help me meet this goal. Thank you, I am grateful.

Duke Dillard moved to Turkey with his wife and 6 children in 2007. He got an MBA at Bilkent University in Ankara, where they had their 7th child. After 4 years in Ankara the whole family moved to Cappadocia, and this blog was born. We love Cappadocia and Cappadocians and want to help visitors make the most of their time here. You can connect with Duke on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, and/or link circles on Google+. Click here to read more about Duke and his family.