In 1969 when I first landed in Istanbul, there were no white goods manufactured in the country, except for the ubiquitous flat gas rings which you can still buy today. There were no ovens, dishwashers, fridges or washing machines.
Historically food here was cooked on an open charcoal grill and if you were wealthy your kitchen featured such a grill where your servants prepared the food.
Poor people cooked on open fireplaces in their kitchens.
The 2/3/4 gas ring systems which work on bottled gas were necessitated by the growth of apartment dwellers in the cities.
Even today Turkish food can almost all be prepared on top of a heat source, and dishes that require an oven can still be taken to the nearest bakery and cooked in its oven.
This writer has friends in Fethiye who had a turkey roasted in their local bakery a couple of years ago – there is a small charge, but it is cheaper than running your electric oven for the hours required to roast a large bird
In this case the bird wouldn’t even fit into the oven it was so huge.
Of course there is the hassle of taking it to the bakery and then collecting it when it is cooked.
No doubt you are thinking how on earth did we manage without a fridge?
For those of us over 60 the answer is obvious, as we grew up in the UK before fridges became common.
We bought food on a daily basis and products such as milk and butter were kept in the coolest place in the house – often semi submerged in a bowl of water to which fresh cold water was added regularly.
Fridges were available in Istanbul, ones which had come from outside Turkey and, as Istanbul’s electricity in those days ran on 110v, acquiring a fridge also meant acquiring a transformer.
Laundry was either a hand washing in the bath job, or you sent it to the neighbourhood laundress.
As the latter seemed to attack all laundry as if it were heavy duty, heavily soiled canvas, most of us suffered the loss of delicate garments (they were often returned in shreds) for a while, then resigned ourselves to lengthy sessions of hand washing in the bathroom.
And it all changed while this writer was living in Istanbul.
In 1971 friends gave me the first oven to be manufactured in Turkey.
A tiny thing with two gas rings on top made by Arçelik.
Within a short space of time Beko was turning out white goods, and is now an international brand – the last cooker we bought in England in 2002 was a Beko.