Ancient Cuisine of Illyrians


By Shqipe Malushi

There is an ancient Illyrian saying: “When the rock moves from its cradle, it never finds rest.” This is how the journey of Ahmet Dursun began. His ancestors left Albania in the 1800s and immigrated to Turkey. For centuries the Dursun family grew, assimilated, and changed; but his great grandparents and grandparents never forgot to carry along the love for their land and the Albanian culture and language. This love for the homeland was passed to Ahmet, who had never been to Albania or knew anything about the Albanian people. From his grandmother’s stories and her love for the dreams of many generations that had left their land behind and moved like the rock into the unknown, Ahmet dreamt to go back to Albania and find his roots.
Ahmet was taken by a dream to visit Albania and discover his roots. He did not find peace in Turkey, a part of him was not complete. It was as if something were missing; he was always wondering where his origins began. Therefore, in 1991, he applied to the University of Tirana for a scholarship in music and received the good news that he was granted the scholarship, so he headed for Albania.
Albania in 1991 was going through a change of regime; nothing was stable. Ahmet was very unhappy seeing the suffering of the people; and after a few days he wanted to return back to Turkey. Life in Albania did not seem as good as it was in his imagination. It wasn’t the land he had dreamed about: people were hungry, they didn’t have their basic needs met, and they looked with mistrust at everyone. Ahmet, however, didn’t know the Albanian language. He left all his belongings to the people who offered him a room and ran to the bus station to get the bus to Turkey. However, when he arrived at the bus station he discovered that the bus had left a few minutes earlier. That was the destiny of Ahmet Dursun.
Twenty-two years later, after many attempts, Ahmet Dursun has learned the Albanian language to a professional level and has written many books and articles. In his search for his roots through time, he has become an expert in Culinary Arts, rediscovering the roots of ancient Illyria. Ahmet has connected the five elements of nature: the sky, the earth, water, air and fire🔥, through rituals, creating a culture of nourishment–food for the soul and the soul that belonged to Earth.
Ahmet Dursun is an Albanian journalist, poet, explorer and culinary artist who seeks to preserve the highest values of Illyrian culture through words and foods. He is presently in the U.S trying to connect with our community and share what he has learned through all his seeking.
After coming to New York, Ahmet Dursun connected with with Sabit & Cathy Bitici, who welcomed him with open heart and recommended that he connect with Arben Krasniqi of Momento Restaurant in West Milford. Warmed by the reception of Bitici’s, and welcomed also by Ilir Allajbegu’s support. Ahmet and I got together with Arben Krasniqi and were welcomed by him. Together we decided to create an Illyrian Original Taste for the Albanian community on Sunday, July 16, 2017, from 5:00-to 9:30pm. This event will be the only event of this nature where Ahmet Dursun will bring back the taste of Illyria’s ancient culture to New York, including sensational delicacies and forgotten, exotic dishes that we did not know even existed.
Please join us on this day, like in good old times, so we can experience a memorable evening together. The evening’s sumptuous five-course meal, including wine and beer, will cost only $75 per person, without tax and tips. Don’t miss this one-of-a- kind cultural event and let us reconnect once again.