The Turkish attitude toward mustard (hardal) might best be explained by Turkish poet Orhan Veli Kanık (1914-1950):
What a fool I am!
For how many years have I failed to understand
Mustard’s place in the life of society.
“One cannot live without mustard.”
This is what Abidin said lately
To those who had attained
The higher realms of enlightenment.
I know it’s not necessary, mustard,
But God forbid anyone should be without it.
—Translated by Tom Brosnahan
So mustard is known and used in Turkey, but it’s not a common ingredient in Turkish cuisine. Some chefs—particularly up-to-date chefs making “fusion” cuisine—may use it, but it’s relatively uncommon.
If you’re allergic to mustard, let restaurant waiters and cooks know:
—Hardal alerjim var! (hahr-DAHL ah-lehr-ZHEEM vahr, “I’m allergic to mustard.”)
—Hiç hardal yeyemem! (HEECH hahr-DAHL yee-YEH-mehm, “I cannot eat any mustard!”)
If you’re afraid that mayonnaise (mayonez) may have mustard in it, you can add that word:
—Mayonez alerjim var! Hiç mayonez yeyemem!
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