I was learning Turkish then, and didn’t know what to make of this famous regional dish: çöp şiş (“CHIRP” sheesh).
Şiş (sheesh) I knew, as in şiş kebap (SHEESH keh-bahp), chunks of lamb put on a skewer (sis) and roasted (kebap). Everybody knows about “shish kabob.”
But çöp is the word for…trash! Did Aegean locals actually eat…Trash Kebap?
As I learned more Turkish, I understood. Çöp is actually the word for “chaff,” the wheat stalk that is blown away in winnowing. It’s the part you don’t need from your wheat harvest. In other words, it’s “trash.”
So when the consumer lifestyle came to Turkey with its bounty of refuse, the old word for chaff was re-used—recycled!—to mean trash. So it was not really “Trash Kebap” but “Chaff Kebap.”
So…what is it? Three or four little chunks of lamb and a chunk of fat on a split wood skewer (the “chaff”), quick roasted and served with a spicy green pepper.