24 March, 2010

Peinirli @ Grigoris

On the other day I ate a Peinirli at Grigoris (Greek fast food chain).

Peinirli might not be as famous as Tyropita or Spanakopita, but is a very popular snacking item in Greece and you can find it almost any pie & coffee shops. It is a boat-shaped piece of bread (dough is similar to that of pizza) baked with plenty of cheese and either ham or bacon.

Not being a big fan of pie pastry, I buy peinirli more often than not. As you can imagine for such a simple food, how good it is depends on the quality of the ingredients, especially of cheese. To be honest, I didn't like Grigoris's peinirli, because it tasted something other than cheese and ham, something like mayonnaise. (I liked much better 'special croissant' of Grigoris - cheese and ham baked in croissant dough).

What I has been wondering about Peinirli is that, regardless of rather obvious Turkish etymology, why the same food in Turkey is called 'Pide' rather than Peinir something.

The name Peinirli seems to have its origin in Peynir - Turkish word for cheese, which originates in Persian word for cheese Panir that is very familiar to us as an Indian white cheese.

Why the Turkish cheese pide came to known as Peinirli in Greek remained as a mystery. My hypothesis is that, as pide can be cheese pide or meat pide and the Turks used to call it 'cheese pide', the Greeks dropped 'pide' part and started to call it just 'cheese'.

Does anybody have an answer? :)

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