Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

eG Foodblog: sazji - Istanbul Glutfests


sazji
 Share

Recommended Posts

INTRODUCTION-BACKGROUND

So I’ve been thinking for weeks now about what kind of things to put in this blog, images of food porn dancing in my head, fantasizing about the nice restaurants this will give me a good excuse to go to, and predicting the looks I’ll get when the waiters watch me photographing everything brought to our table. But I didn’t really think much about the introduction. Now it’s a day before I’m to start and suddenly I have to think about this!

My real name is Bob Beer, I’m nominally a Seattleite (14 years) and I’ve been living in Istanbul, Turkey for around 6 years now. The original reason I came here was to study Turkish folk music, as well as learn Turkish well (I work as a translator). And of course, eat and learn to make at least my favorite dishes. I am not nor have I ever been a food professional; I’m just a person who likes good food, and is drawn to what is different. I remember as a kid begging my mother to buy a persimmon in the grocery store — they were terribly expensive — because the idea of a fruit I had never tasted was so alluring. Years later I spent 10 dollars I didn’t have to try durian for the first time. (Fortunately I loved it.)

A random note that doesn't fit into the flow - the pictures in the teaser are 1) a view from my garden to the mosque next door, 2) a boy in our local weekly neighborhood market selling snake gourds, and 3) a cup of strong Turkish tea in the typical glass.

My mother is a southerner and the daughter of a Greek restaurateur (he was Greek, the restaurant wasn’t but he was a damn good cook in any case) from Marmara Island, about 2 hours west of here by fast ferry. You might imagine that I grew up eating lots of Greek food, but mom was married to a meat-and-potatoes man whose mother was, by all accounts, a horrible cook. Chicken was boiled. Steaks were fried-till-dead, then incarcerated in milk gravy and boiled further. My dad was thus very finicky about food and many a meal was begun with a tentative sniff, and a “....what’s this?” (The groaning buffet table to which we were invited at a Chinese friend’s house was a wonderland for me; to him I think it was more like a chamber of horrors, the little whole octopuses and thousand-year-old egg topping the list of terrifying surprises...) Greek food? “Hrumph! Why do they keep putting cinnamon in the beef?” Lamb? Mom tried feeding it to him once, convinced that he wouldn’t even recognize it. He did. :) I was a kid who ate pretty much everything except fresh tomatoes; the rule for my brother and I was that we had to try everything. My brother took on more after my dad, I took after my mom. So aside from some really good sweets around Christmas, Greek food happened mostly on those weekends when my dad was out of town, much to my brother’s dismay. To be fair, my first taste of feta cheese made me want to hurl... And we both did like yogurt, which we always had around, because my mom made her own, not a common thing in Iowa in the 60s. We called it "yiaourti," I didn’t even know it had any other name. I remember one of my playmates almost gagging when we fed him some.

When I was growing up, my dad was a grad student and mom a housewife, so we ate cheaply and mostly out of cans; more Spam than I care to think about. Mom was a pretty good cook actually but I think tended to see it mostly as a job and not something to get really creative with unless there was company. I don’t think I ever had fresh beans or peas till I was in around 6th grade and my mom planted a big garden. That was a revelation.

Various things spurred me to really get interested in food. I had a good friend in 7th grade from Taiwan, and I ate at their house a lot. Living for a summer and then a year in Greece (where I discovered that tomatoes could be edible and nearly everything was made from scratch) was definitely another one. The first cookbook I ever bought was on that trip. For a while there I made bread every week.

I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. When I moved out of the house, I went to Champaign, Ill., and was exposed to a wok for the first time. There was a big Asian food store there, and all these mysterious ingredients! I still can’t cook Chinese worth a damn though. :huh:

My first trip to Turkey was in 1982, for 2 weeks, and I instantly fell in love with the country, its people and its food. I was living in Greece at the time so it was fascinating to see the different takes on things that were very familiar, as well as things completely new to me. I also was dismayed to find that recipes I found for some of these foods in cookbooks in the west came out tasting very different from the way they tasted in Turkey. Milk is not milk, yogurt is definitely not yogurt, and pepper paste is...more or less nonexistent. Yeah, it's all in the pepper paste!

Most of the time, I eat fairly simply. My own cooking habits are strongly influenced by my time in Greece. I suppose if I were writing this blog from Greece, I’d say my cooking habits are heavily influenced by my time in Turkey. It’s a relatively new border, with Greeks and Turks on both sides of it, what the heck! I’m not vegetarian but I don’t eat lots of meat. I cook for myself a lot but don’t usually go all-out unless I have guests. So this blog should offer a good opportunity to make some good food, go to some of my favorite (if not necessarily upscale) restaurants, and take you on a virtual tour of some of the wonderful food markets here. Of course I’ll take suggestions as well: If there’s something you’d like to see (excluding the cuisine served in a Turkish jail), just ask.

TURKISH PRONUNCIATION

I’ll be using lots of Turkish words, so here is a quick guide to pronunciation for those who are curious. That way I can write a word like “İmam Bayıldı” without constantly having to include hideous transliterations like “ee-MAHM bah-yuhl-DUH” in parentheses. Or you can go to the online Turkish/English dictionary http://www.seslisozluk.com and hear the words pronounced. You have to become a member for that function, but it’s free.

You may have to change your encoding for these to display properly. If you are seeing letters like “þ” or “ý,” then you need to choose View > Encoding > Turkish on your browser.

Turkish is 99% phonetically written. Maybe 98%. The vowels are:

a - father

e - bet

(Or, if you are the Turkish equivalent of a valley girl, a drawn out, nasal a as in “bad...” If you want to hear a masterful imitation of Turkish valley girl, I can direct you. :laugh: )

ı - somewhere between butter and wood. Capital: I

i - about halfway between bit and beet. Capital: İ

o - roll

ö - close to the German ö

u - tool

ü - close to the German ü

The consonants are pretty much as you might expect with the exception of:

c - jet

ç - cheese

ğ - lengthens the preceding vowel

j - Zsa Zsa

ş - shoot

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sazji, I'm so happy to see you blogging! You are one of my favorite posters -- great photos, and very instructive. I'm sure we'll learn a lot and have great entertainment from this blog. Enjoy!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Behemoth - I was a Russian major actually! My father was a professor of music at the U.I., my mother was a professional cellist (and is still a fine musician) but left the profession to be a mom.

Pan - thanks for the good word!

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How exciting; I can't wait to see what you share with us!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, onto blogging. I should be in bed really but I just got back a few days ago from a month in the US, and am terribly jet-lagged; I was sleepy at 5 this evening but not now!

Well, one blogger started a day late, so I don’t suppose it’s cheating to start a day "early!" Meaning that I had such a nice food day yesterday that I couldn't not share it. And today was pretty pedestrian in terms of food - a cup of coffee (albeit Sumatra from Cafe Vita in Seattle), a banana, several mandarins, and a kır pidesi (well, pretty pedestrian here, and it wasn't a good one).

Having just returned from Seattle, my friend Ferda called me and invited me to a nice day of “re-entry.” Ferda owns a great little “home cooking” restaurant in Istanbul’s Taksim district (which I’ll definitely be visiting this week), and is an enthusiastic traveler and lover of good food. She’ll call and say “Bob, [so-and-so]’s mother is here and she made a batch of [such-and-such] from their village, it’s amazing, you have to come right now!” She has a lovely little house on Burgazadası, the second of the Prince’s Islands off the coast of Asian Istanbul.

gallery_28660_3996_61777.jpg

The weather being beautiful, we decided to eat breakfast on the boat, which takes about an hour. I brought an açma (a light buttery bun) with olive, and a portion of cheese su böreği, a baked dish with “phyllo” of thin rolled noodle dough which is boiled and layered with a filling. There’s a lot of mediocre mile-high su böreği in Istanbul but we have a place in our neighborhood (Kocamustafapaşa) that makes a wonderful home-style one with lots of real butter.

gallery_28660_3996_16138.jpg

Ferda brought salad makings — a salad of some sort, or at least sliced tomatoes and cucumbers is an indispensable part of a Turkish breakfast — and olives, sandwiches with cream cheese, string cheese, pastirma and beef ham.

gallery_28660_3996_20030.jpg

Also indispensable is strong tea in narrow glasses, which Ferda bought on board the ship.

gallery_28660_3996_37584.jpg

We could have had simit (sesame bread rings) as well, but we already had plenty of bread. Along with the tea guys, the simit sellers are a permanent fixture on the ferries. You'll also see them walking through the streets of Istanbul with these trays expertly balanced on their heads.

gallery_28660_3996_48460.jpg

We also had musical accompaniment provided by 5 young guys with a guitar!

gallery_28660_3996_11027.jpg

When we got to the island, we went to where the fishermen bring in their catch. It pays to be very careful when buying fish in the markets in Istanbul; unscrupulous dealers will often try and slip in a less-than-fresh one to people who don't know how to choose. They also sometimes use some sort of trick to make their gills stay red and point to those as a sign of freshness, but when the eyes are sunken and cloudy... The ones here are very dependable; much of what they have is still alive.

Todays’ offerings: lüfer (3-year-old bluefısh), sarıkanat, (2-year-old bluefısh), istavrit (which I didn’t know in English but seslisozluk informs me is "horse mackerel," Trachurus trachurus), and hamsi, a small sardine-like fish that travels in huge schools in the Black Sea and is the main protein source there. Τurkish is interesting in that for several fish there are different names according to the age/size of the fish. Lüfer migrates from the Black Sea into the Bosphorus each fall, fully fatted, and is amazing. We took the sarıkanat, which means literally “yellow wing,” because at that stage, the fins are distinctly yellow.

gallery_28660_3996_20951.jpg

After hanging out at the house a bit, we took off into nature to collect wild greens. There are many, many different edible plants growing on the island according to the season. Right now the best are mallow, nettle, and wild mustard. I picked a good bunch of wild mustard, steamed it, and dressed it with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I must confess, though this is a distinctly Greek way to prepare greens, if I were "really" Greek the greens would not be nearly so brilliant because I would have boiled them a lot longer...

Wild mustard: before

gallery_28660_3996_39305.jpg

Wild mustard: after

gallery_28660_3996_32857.jpg

Ferda also picked a lot of Arbutus unedo fruit. Also known as strawberry tree, A. unedo is common on the islands. The latin name "unedo" means "I eat one," because one is plenty for most people. Here they are known as kocayemiş, koca meaning "great big" and yemiş being the blanket term for all sorts of berries and nuts. The flavor is not bad but it is covered with a layer of gritty points that you can't really take off, and full of seeds to boot. Imagine trying to scrape sand off a soft chocolate truffle you dropped on the beach...and once you do, find that it already had gravel in it. I had one and spent about five minutes spitting out the grit. More for her!

gallery_28660_3996_54809.jpg

We had a nice dinner on their patio which overlooks a small bay. I won’t show the cooked fish because despite all Ferda’s efforts, it stuck to the grill. :sad: But ıt was great. Many fish lovers here say "never never never put lemon on fish." I do, I like it, I get chewed out for it, but to each his own.

Here’s our dining table...

gallery_28660_3996_10252.jpg

That's it for tonight. Tomorrow morning I'm going out to İkitelli Köy, a village that has been subsumed into the sprawl of Istanbul, for breakfast with friends from Tunceli, followed by an engagement party. So it will be evening here before I'll be back online.

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sazji,

I will be reading your blog with much interest.

My very first trip out of the USA was to Turkey, of all places!!! This was in 1978 or so. I had a very good girlfriend who. at that time, was dating a professor at Carnegie Mellon who was from Turkey. He was returning for the summer to do a guest lectureship at a University in Istanbul (Bosphorus?) and wanted her to come for a couple weeks to meet and visit his family. I was invited as a travelling companion. Too bad I was only two years out of college and we had very little money BUT who could turn down such an opportunity? Those years Turkey was under a military regime. so stepping off the plane with soldiers with armed machine guns was a bit of a culture shock for us BUT the trip was still amazing. We spent time in Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. We first arrived in Istanbul so were there for several days but his family lived in Ankara, so most of the trip was spent there.

Food? Fortunately, even almost 30 years ago, I was an adventuresome eater. Loved the food. My friend, however, was not so enthralled.

I do recall one of our most memorable days. While exporing the ruins near Izmir (Ephesus?), hanging out in one of the amphitheaters being excavated, we spotted some folks on the other side WITH, of all things, A COOLER (now this was after almost 2 weeks of luke warm beverages...lucky to get 2 small ice cubes in a drink)!!!!! We soon discovered (after making fools of ourselves....yelling and screaming at them) that they were Americans stationed at a base nearby. And in that COOLER was some ICE COLD BEERS!!!!! Not being a regular beer drinker myself did not mean that I did not thoroughly enjoy that cold one more than any other beverage I have ever had!!!!!!

I never did learn much Turkish BUT, to this day, I can still say "I'm American, I do not speak Turkish" in Turkish!!!!

Looking forward to more of your blog. Brings back memories!!!

Thank you.

Donna

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How exciting -- so much for me to learn as I know almost nothing about Turkey. What is the climate like there?

Istanbul is fairly hot and humid in the summer with rain up into early July or so, rare after that. In the autum the rains start again. But there are also lots of microclimates here - I'm close to the Marmara sea, and this summer got almost no rain after early May. Sometimes I'd sit on my porch in the sun watching thunderstorms go over Taksim (just a couple kilometers away), which was getting flooded. Frustrating as I really needed rain! The winter is comparable to Seattle, perhaps with a few more sunbreaks. Mostly gray and cool, light freezes at night but occasional cold snaps and snow.

The country has a wide variety of climates. The Black Sea is overall mild, subtropical in some areas (they used to grow mandarins in the E. Black Sea before they began growing tea in the early part of the century). The Mediterranean area has hot dry summers and cool mild winters; at the southernmost point they grow avocadoes and bananas. The most severe climates are inland - Erzurum is known for extremely cold winters, and in the southeast near the Syrian and Iraqi borders summer temps of 110 (45 C plus...) and above are fairly common. I was there last winter and we had lots of 70 degree days (20 C).

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those years Turkey was under a military regime. so stepping off the plane with soldiers with armed machine guns was a bit of a culture shock for us BUT the trip was still amazing.

Food?  Fortunately, even almost 30 years ago, I was an adventuresome eater.  Loved the food.  My friend, however, was not so enthralled. 

I never did learn much Turkish BUT, to this day, I can still say "I'm American, I do not speak Turkish" in Turkish!!!!

Well, you did more than lots of other foreigners who come here! I think that's why many Turks assume "all or nothing" - if you speak a little Turkish, you must understand everything, because people tend to either really put in an effort or not at all. It's one of those learning curve things...there's a woman here who came over 16 years ago and decided right away that she couldn't learn. Her street is called "Asmalımescit" and she pronounces it "Ass-molly-medgit." Which we have distorted to "A Smelly Midget." It will never bet the same....:)

Overall I love the food of course, though certain things can get tiresome - the enless "fry an onion in lots of oil, throw in some tomato/pepper paste and whatever else you have" kind of foods common in some of the buffet type restaurants. Home cooking is something else entirely. I still cannot eat tripe, and kokoreç (intestines wrapped around liver, kidney etc. and roasted on a spit) only about 10 percent of the time, when they leave out the core of fat in the middle. Mostly its the quality and freshness of ingredients that I'm in love with.

When I came here the first time, it was still under a military regime as well; I crossed over from Greece to Ayvalik. The military security soldiers with the uzis at every bus stop demanding ID was pretty intimidating. Istanbul went off military rule the night I left! There is still work to be done but Turkey has changed a lot since then, both good and bad. The good is of course the incredible change in human rights, with minority language/cultural restrictions lifted. The bad is an incredible consumerism; and the blind acceptance of just about anything that comes from the west. It's like a cultural flash flood. I was struck when I came back in 1996 after 11 years absent, by the proliferation of packaged foods. Lots of younger people, even women, express astonishment that I still make certain foods; they are just "too much trouble" and they never learned. In another 10 years will Turkey be like the US in that respect, where you go into a store and find "aisles and ailes of 'food' and nothing to eat?" I hope not!

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sazji, I feel guilty confessing that I rarely read any of the blogs -- however I met a famous Turkish chef (Musa Dagdeviren of Çiya restaurant in Istanbul) several years ago who completely turned my head when I tasted his food at a conference here in California.

Now I'm almost obsessed with learning about Turkish cuisine and visiting in the near future (perhaps late next year). I'll be reading and re-reading your blog to learn more!

Thanks so much for this lesson!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sazji,

What an interesting story!

You also seem to have a wonderful eye for light and reflection in your photos.

"Strawberry Trees" are grown here in SF as (fairly messy) street trees. I don't think anyone thinks to try to eat the fruit. Though, I understand, in some parts of the world a wine of some sort is made from them.

Perhaps I will be emboldened enough to try a fruit one day.

Looking forward to seeing and reading more.

Cheers!

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, wonderful!

I've been to Turkey 2 times (first trip was Istanbul and the westcoast, second trip southcoast) and I loved loved LOVED the food. And the tea! We had countless glasses of that strong black sweet tea, sitting in the shade in teagardens, with a book or our little portable chessboard.

Can't wait to see what you have in store for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sazji, what an exciting blog! I visited Istanbul (and parts of central and western Turkey) just over 2 years ago and I LOVED it, especially the food. It's hard to replicate the dishes I ate there because the ingredients were so good and fresh. Is yoghurt in Turkey the same as 'greek' yoghurt?

Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Strawberry Trees" are grown here in SF as (fairly messy) street trees.  I don't think anyone thinks to try to eat the fruit.  Though, I understand, in some parts of the world a wine of some sort is made from them.

Perhaps I will be emboldened enough to try a fruit one day.

Hmmm...now making alcohol out of them might work; the taste is actually fairly good. Apricot-like. Definitely try one! They are all over Seattle, too.

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is yoghurt in Turkey the same as 'greek' yoghurt?

Well...it's very similar to Greek yogurt in Greece, but if by "Greek" yogurt you mean the Fage brand and imitators that are sold in the US and western Europe...actually I'd have to say that "Greek" yogurt has almost nothing to do with Greek yogurt, much less Turkish yogurt! That was the one thing that I was most intolerant of on my trip back to the US - I didn't find a single kind of yogurt I could stand! They all had various gums/gelatins/thickeners, and just didn't taste like yogurt to me.

Actually I was living in Greece when Fage first hit the market. Many people there didn't like it at all, and of those who did, most would only use it for something like tzatziki, not for actual eating plain. Everyone was convinced it had skim milk powder, which the company denied, but a friend of mine actually found a lump of undissolved powder in her Fage. :) Now they seem to be used to it, and all the sweetened yogurts, unknown 20 years ago, are quite normal now. There might be something like that in Turkey now but I can't say I'm aware of it. There are lots of brands of yogurt though. Probably the best is Tikvesli, it's made with real whole milk, slightly yellow, with a nice skin (kaymak) on the top. Other good ones are Çoban and Itimat (an inexpensive dairy product outlet).

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today was not outstanding in terms of food, so I'll supplement with pictures of things I didn't eat. :) But it was an interesting day nontheless.

The sister-in-law of a musician friend got engaged today. The families are Zazas from the area of Tunceli and Bingöl. Zazas are a non-Turkic people sometimes associated with the Kurds but though their language is in the same group it is not intelligible to Kurds. Some are Sunni muslim, others are Alevi (see below).

I decided to grab a little something before starting the somewhat long bus ride to İkitelli Köy, a small (former) village on the west side of Istanbul that is in the process of being engulfed by the city. I went to the Simit Sarayi. About 4 years ago, somebody got the idea to elaborate on the basic simit (the sesame-covered bread rings sold all over Turkey), and started Simit Sarayi, or Simit Palace. They offered cheese, olive, sucuk (a type of sausage) and olive-filled simit, as well as a variety of cakes, pastries and cookies, and drinks. The concept took off, and as with everything that succeeds here, many rushed to copy them. Now there is Simithan, Simitçi, and other simit places, all essentially the same, and sometimes side-by-side in true Starbuck's style competitiveness.

gallery_28660_3996_34428.jpg

I saw something new - a simit with kavurma, essentially meat that is simmered in its own fat till very tender. It certainly looked good!

gallery_28660_3996_7940.jpg

It tasted...fatty. Luckily the tea was strong! :blink:

The traffic was moving pretty well and I got to İkitelli in about an hour. When I got to the house, the women were already busy in the kitchen making the meal to feed all the guests.

gallery_28660_3996_76934.jpg

Actually food at weddings and other such occasions, especially in the case of villagers in the East, is often not at all elaborate. It might be bulgur boiled with mutton. Today it was rice pilalf, boiled chicken and beans, with ayran (yogut mixed with water and often salted). People in the east generally spread a cloth called a sofra, and eat sitting on the floor.

gallery_28660_3996_50572.jpg

Here is a picture of a couple houses, not particularly old, in İkitelli Köy. Most of the original stone houses of the village are tumbling down. These are probably gecekondu, literally "alit at night," which refers to houses that are built illegally, and often overnight —at least the front walls— with the help of many friends, so that in the morning there is for all appearances a brand new house that was not there the day before! There are streets of regular cement apartment blocks surrounding the village as well.

gallery_28660_3996_61954.jpg

At the celebration there was music and dancing, and the bride-to-be received small gifts and wishes from relatives. Most of the singing was in Kurdish because the singer was Kurdish, and these people do mostly the same dances.

gallery_28660_3996_37825.jpg

Click here for a short video of some of the dancing!

Unfortunately it was actually quite dark in the room and it was hard to get good pictures there.

Here is a relative of my friend with a typical headscarf decorated with oya. In the east women mostly wear white headscarves. These are Alevis, who belong to a "heterodox" sect of Islam (many would not call themselves muslims). Men and women worship together, and there is no segregation of men and women. Woman are not required by their religion to cover but many village women do simply because it's traditional.

gallery_28660_3996_52630.jpg

On the way back, I decided to take some pictures of some of the shops on the road from the bus stop to my house, just to get some more food in my post!

Here there is still a significant degree of specialization. If you want dried fruits and nuts (known collectively as kuruyemiş, or dry foods, you go to a kuruyemişçi. On the far left are bottles of boza, a sweet-sour fermented (non-alcoholic) drink made from millet.

gallery_28660_3996_40375.jpg

This one is also selling çevizli sucuk, literally "walnut sausage," which is strings of walnuts dipped in grape juice or grape molasses thickened with wheat starch.

gallery_28660_3996_24832.jpg

I seem to have had a sweet tooth because I kept getting drawn to the sweet shops. Many people know "kadayıf" or "kataifi" in its Greek rendition, a shredded-wheat-like pastry. But other things are known as kadayıf as well. Here is ekmek kadayıfı or "bread kataif," which is soakedin syrup and filled with kaymak, or clotted buffalo cream. It is one of very few sweets I really just can't take more than a bite or two of. :blink:

gallery_28660_3996_29226.jpg

Another place was selling all manner of deep fried syrup pastries, notably tulumba (which means "pump"), the oblong large and small pastries in the very front, (being poured into the pan) lokma (the round ones in the back) and halka tatlısı or "circle sweet." The llatter is also very commonly sold by street vendors, probably because it's the easiest to hold and eat.

And no mention of Turkish would be complete without some baklava! Here we have rolled walnut baklava and pistachio roll, which is almost all pistachio. The other one in the middle is şekerpare, which is a bit like a soft crumbly cookie or cake soaked in syrup.

gallery_28660_3996_64500.jpg

I'm thinking of making a trip to one of the really good baklava places to elaborate on that. Enjoy!

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your blog is off to a nice start. I note that in one photo the tea was in narrow glasses, and in another the tea was in cups with handles. Is one more prevalent than the other? The Egyptian practice of putting hot tea in glasses threw me for a loop until I figured out how to hold the glass without burning myself.

What's that lux incir, next to the walnut sausage? Is it a fruit?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your blog is off to a nice start.  I note that in one photo the tea was in narrow glasses, and in another the tea was in cups with handles.  Is one more prevalent than the other?  The Egyptian practice of putting hot tea in glasses threw me for a loop until I figured out how to hold the glass without burning myself.

What's that lux incir, next to the walnut sausage?  Is it a fruit?

It's extra quality dried figs!

About tea - when you go to a pastry/börek shop there is usually a choice between a large or small tea. Though at home most people use the small glasses (probably cause mom's always there to keep filling them) people who want a bit more when they eat out will usually get a large tea. It may be a teacup with a handle or just a large glass. But it's always glass; tea must be drunk from glass! :)

As for the fingers - funny about that, it used to get me too but not any more. If it's really really hot and it's to the edge, then you just wait a minute or so. Usually it's far enough below the edge that it's not an issue; you just have to have a steady hand. A little finger usually goes below to support the blass as well. In cold weather they fit nicely into cold hands...

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love this blog! Thanks so much for including that video; somehow, seeing and hearing it all in moving time adds so much that's hard to imagine from the written word.

I've seen the recipe for those walnuts dipped in grape in a Georgian cookbook, but it looks like you have to keep dipping them for days. Tell me, are they so delicious as to be worth the effort to make them here?

And being in the Seattle area, let me say that I have never in my life imagined our climate to be close to Turkey's. That alone is a revelation.

What instrument do you play, and can we have a little video clip of you playing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my...another great blog!! And Turkey is a place I dream of visiting. :smile:

Bugger not having an interesting enough day with food, the pics and video from the wedding are so evocative that food could wait!! My hips swayed at the PC with that video and Im now left wondering if I was from that part of the world in a past life. But then, you just HAD to pass the sweet store. :biggrin:

I want some of everything please, especially those walnut strings! I toffee walnuts to accompany blue cheese on occasion and those strings looked more than enticing.

This is all good and I cant wait for futher installments!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for a really educational look at the culture of Turkey from a food and music perspective, it's very facinating. Is that a real estate sale sign over the Simitci store a Remax logo??? Great job keep the pic's coming.

Edited by doc slaughter (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Duvel
      The first week of November are „autumn holidays“ in the area where I live. We wanted to use that time to go to Paris, but when my parents-in-law somewhat surprisingly announced they‘d be coming over from Spain for the whole of November, we scrapped that idea and looked for something more German …
       
      So … Berlin. Not the best time to travel (cold & rainy), but with a couple of museums for the little one and the slightly older ones to enjoy together, plus some food options I was looking forward it was a destination we could all agree on. The Covid19 warnings in the Berlin subway support that notion …
       

       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
      -Grace
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...