How many ways do I love thee, Turkish breakfast? Let me count the ways…
I’m pretty sick of this heartbreak crap right now, and you can be honest, you are too. Unfortunately it still colors nearly everything I see and do, so I’m going to take the easy way out. No, not drugs, nothing so prosaic as that. I have this addiction under control. Usually.
I’m talking about food.
(That’s the original version of the old Salt n Pepa song. “Let’s talk about food baby, let’s talk about bread and meat, let’s talk about all the spices and the delightses that fill me…” But they just couldn’t stomach the word “delightses”. You’re welcome for the pun.)
I have to start with one of the new loves in my life…one I miss dearly. I miss you yemek!
Yemek is Turkish for “food” (looking up the Turkish word for breakfast feels like cheating) and the breakfasts in that land are second only to Portland, Oregon in my mind right now.
Turkey put me on the road of eating twice daily that I am (usually) still on here in Sri Lanka, with 12-hour portions of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, slippery armies of black and green olives, and enough feta to build a house (or at least an igloo), usually served with about 12 slices of bread.
12.5 if you count the heel.
In Fethiye the olives came from Grandma’s farm. In Istanbul there was thick yogurt with optional ladles of peanut sauce, fruit jam, or molasses. Molasses! I had only ever been slow as, never eating. I took to it as quickly as…molasses (it’s much faster than I was led to believe).
In addition to the feta, they often had braids of a very firm white cheese, like a salty mozzarella, chopped into pieces. In Antalya they had börek, the cheese-filled fried pastry that is a cousin of the meaty version in Bosnia that gave me food poisoning. (Predictably, I liked the Turkish one better.)
In the Kurdish areas they switched the French bread for pita-like flatbread, which was fine with me. In Diyarbakir they added a slowly colonial pond of honey with hunks of the comb riding around like warships. Alongside the honey was a slice of cheese that was crazy-smooth, and whose taste was sweet and silky beyond my imagination. It took me a minute to realize it was homemade butter.
Everything seems more exotic when you have a mouthful of deliciousness.
In Hasankeyf I agreed to a tour by the hotel owner’s awkward friend, and before we started we waited, chatting in Arabic, while the baker and his son cooked a round of bread for us in a wood-fired oven. Then we went to what looked like a hardware store, chatted in Kurdish, and bought cheese so fresh it was still warm. I didn’t even know cheese was made warm. Finally we got olives from a little old man, chatting in Turkish, and took them to eat in a spare cafe where flies buzzed in front of windows looking over the ruins of a Roman bridge across the upper Tigris River.
I can’t remember the hike, but I remember the breakfast. Shukran, spas, and teşekur ederim for the breakfast, Hasankeyf.
Well shucks, I was going to tell you about Sri Lankan curry, but that will just have to wait.
I’ll be travelling there soon. Can’t wait! Always been curious about their food.
Excellent! Eastern and/or Western? Though it saddens me to say, I’m not sure a woman alone in the East would be particularly comfortable…although neither is the West, but in a very different way. (I look forward to your list of Top 10 Turkish Pickup Lines.)
LOL! I am all too familiar with travelling in such countries. Having lived in Qatar a a child and visited Morocco several times, I know what i like and and am taking a man with me. The only time I was ever alone in Morocco I had to run away from the men, and dodge one that tried to grab me (a 5 min walk I thought would be harmless).
I presume Turkey can’t be as bad as that, but I’m not willing to test my theory. It is a real shame… Women are treated so disrespectfully and then, irony of ironies, we are the ones to blame.
I did however have a Moroccan man appologize to me once, for assuming I was another blood sucking leech like all women are once my now ex told him I was the one that hated spending money. He had ignored me the whole meal, and then behaved normally. That was big of him.
Ha! I love it. The last part, that is. The first part, being chased and grabbed…ug. All too familiar. I wrote in my journal last night that I propose 99% of men be castrated, the rest put in Pleasure Zoos, and we can move forward with our civilization. Good luck in Turkey, it’s definitely worth it (and you’re right, not THAT bad at all).
sorry for the amount of stupid typos 🙂
No worris, i mak tem to.
The wonder of breakfast was the main reason I was enthralled with that hostel I recommended in Selcuk…ohh the olives! The cheeeeeese!
Stop, you’re making me hungry! Which is impressive given that I just ate vegetable fried rice that tasted nothing like it should have, and not in a good way.
To say I’m in love with Turkish kavaltı is an understatement. I’m glad I found another fan!
Absolutely! The Myanmar Noodle Soup they serve here is a pretty good way to start the day, particularly the crunchy little chunks of fried chickpeas, but without a moment’s pause I would swap for a proper plate of veggies, cheese, and whatever else a Turkish/Kurdish provider felt like providing. Wishing you many delicious breakfasts!
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