I was going to wait until I ate all 30 new foods before I wrote a post about accomplishing #24 on my TB30 list. But I just had a meal so delish that I believe it is deserving of a post of its very own.
After posting my TB30 list on my blog, my wonderful friend, D (check out her blog here) offered to help me cross off a few from the list, particularly #24. Now, I must tell you about my dear friends, D and R. D and I used to be classmates and her husband, R, is currently finishing up his PhD. We don’t necessarily hang out very often or socialize with the same crowds. And on the surface, we all don’t have much in common: A Taiwanese girl raised in the South, a girl who grew up in Vermont and a guy born and raised in Turkey and now living in America. But it is our love…no, our passion for food and life that we share in common. I don’t know what it is about D and R, but instantly I knew I just liked them. They are 2 of the most interesting and talented and kind people that I have ever met. You know those kind of people you just feel a kindred spirit with? Well, that’s D and R. After meeting 2 years ago, we had talked about giving each other Turkish and Taiwanese cooking lessons and we honestly had all the best of intentions of getting together, but just hadn’t. Well, with my birthday just being around the corner, there was a sense of urgency that gave us that push to do it. So, D invited me over tonight for a last-minute trip around the world to enjoy a homemade Turkish meal.
You know how tv cooking show hosts wish that you had “smell-o-vision” so that you can smell all of the delicious dishes that they’ve prepared? Well, as I write this post, I wish people had “lick-o-screens” so that you could tantalize your taste buds with all the Turkish tastiness (how’s that for alliteration?).
D and R were kind enough to write down all the names of the dishes we enjoyed tonight:
Yayla çorbası (Plateau soup)—a hearty soup made with rice and yogurt
Bulgur pilavı (Bulgar pilaf)—very similar to a rice pilaf with tomatoes and peppers
Urfa kebabı—beef (from local, grassfed cows) marinated in milk, olive oil and something else that I can’t remember
İncir (fig)—which I believe I have only had in a Fig Newton before
Çay (Turkish tea)—a special black tea, sweetened with a tiny spoon of sugar, diluted with hot water and served in tulip-shaped, glass tea cups
Tea is a very important part of Turkish culture. Some things I learned from R about the Turkish tea culture:
–it is offered to guests who visit homes as a sign of hospitality as well as other places where people might need to wait (e.g., fish market)
–can be used as a “social lubricant” (e.g., if two people don’t have a lot in common, one might say, ‘well, let’s have tea’ to break up the awkwardness
–mostly offered after a meal
–can be accompanied by biscuits
–usually prepared using 2 stacked kettles; the top kettle contains tea leaves and water and the bottom kettle only contains water used for diluting
–small amount of tea is first poured into the glass and then diluted with a bit of water according to preference for a stronger or weaker tea
–should drink it hot, right away
–usually the tulip-shaped cups are held by the rim to avoid burning fingers
Baklava—homemade by R himself (taught by D who shared a very, very easy 30-minute baklava recipe that I can’t wait to try.)
Sadly, my pictures do not do this meal justice. It was one of the best meals that I have had in a long time! Prepared just for me by D and R. D, an American, prepared an entire spread of Turkish dishes for us to enjoy. Now, I can cook some Taiwanese dishes, but I don’t know that I can say that I’ve hosted a dinner that I made all by myself that is ALL Taiwanese. I am truly inspired!
Turkishly-delightful! So, now I can cross off 6 new foods!
Oh, and D and R also helped me toward crossing off #23 by teaching me how to count to ten in Turkish (complete with dummy-proof phonetics).
1 Bir “beer”
2 İki “eekee”
3 Üç “ooch”
4 Dört “dirt”
5 Beş “beysh”
6 Altı “all tuh”
7 Yedi “yeh dee”
8 Sekiz “seh keez”
9 Dokuz “dough kooz”
10 On “own”
Teşekkür Ederim and Sağ olun, D and R for being wonderful hosts and even more wonderful friends!
I will leave you with a picture from D and R’s home that embodies exactly why I like them so much.