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David Weiner

David Weiner

Posted January 22, 2009 | 09:08 AM (EST)

R.I.P. Kebab King, Thank You for Your Doner Kebab


At the age of 87, the Kebab King Mahmut Aygün has died.

To be honest, up until about ten minutes ago, I had no idea who Mahmut Aygün was or that there even was a "Kebab King," yet now I mourn his death tremendously. After all, this is the man who invented the "doner kebab."

That's right, invented it. Apparently Mr. Aygün did what so many enterprising young men do to earn their riches -- he took something good and made it better. In Mr. Aygün's case, it was taking kebab meat off the rice, and placing it inside a pita. So drunk people could eat it more easily. Seriously.

I think I can speak for many of us when I say this man, in his own small way, touched my life. This is like losing the guy who figured out that you could cut pizza into slices, or, though to a lesser degree, the man who shrank burgers into sliders. This is like losing Dave Thomas all over again.

But life goes on, and so it must. We cannot stop looking forward, just as Mr. Aygün never stopped once his doner kebab took off. Instead, he continued to strive for greater and better things, and ultimately invented the yogurt sauce that comes with the doner kebab. Seriously.

Mahmut Aygün, rest in peace.