region was where I lived when
I first moved to Turkey in 1967.
the full story.)
I was learning
Turkish then, and didn't know
what to make of this famous regional
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
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
First prepared as a snack or street
food, it has ascended to the status
of a main course—at least in
region south of Izmir,
where you'll see restaurant signs advertising
sis at the bus terminal in Selçuk (Ephesus),
with a mixed salad, fried onions,
fresh bread and a cold Efes