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May 08, 2005


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I can't help but think there's a connection between blood feuds and excessive coffee drinking.

More seriously, was coffee chosen because it's acceptable to christians and muslims?


Well, there was the Alex Cox movie, Straight to Hell: "A story of blood, money, guns, coffee, and sexual tension."

I think coffee was chosen because it was symbolic of the hearth and the household. Members of the different faiths drank raki, the local distilled liquor -- it's a loanword from Turkish.

(I don't get the picture that Balkan Muslims abstained from liquor all that much. Certainly, when the slivovitz trade started in earnest in Serbia, their biggest customer by far was the Ottoman Empire.)

Doug M.

Tirana is full of bars and nightclubs (and nary a veil to be seen, either). The Bosniaks drink just like the Serbs. The one Turk I knew in Macedonia was perfectly ready to bend an elbow after work. And the small Turkish grocery store down the street from us has shelves full of beer and wine.

Come to think of it, I haven't met a Balkan Muslim who /didn't/ drink.

Doug M.

language hat

I should note that by "Turkish coffee", Hasluck is using the English name for that style of brewing coffee by boiling its fine grounds, and does not intend any specific ethnic or religious identification by it.

This term is, alas, no longer acceptable (except, of course, to Turks). In Greek restaurants you must ask for "Greek coffee," in Lebanese restaurants "Lebanese coffee," etc. Sigh.

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