Taiwanese girl takes on Turkish food

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?).

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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

Patlıcan salatası (Roasted eggplant yogurt salad)—the most delightful combination of yogurt, roasted eggplant (from their CSA share today), roasted green peppers and tomatoes and garlic

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

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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.)

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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).

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   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.

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5 thoughts on “Taiwanese girl takes on Turkish food

  1. Yay! You’re so sweet – what a lovely post! And great job with the Turkish spellings! It was so nice to spend the evening with you – I’m sorry we haven’t done it sooner and more often. Let’s put that on the post-30 goal list (after all, you have a lot to get done between now and November already!) Although, we can certainly get together for Star Wars before then if time allows with your comps and all. Taiwanese food next! xo

  2. You are making your way through that list very nicely. Congratulations! The only menu item I was familiar with was baklava and I actually have made baklava! Good luck as you continue to whittle your list. Oh by the way, you’ll like this . . . saw an Amish couple headed to Aldi’s to grocery shop on Saturday. They were actually using a buckboard. The horse was tied to a lamp post. Very cute. While we often see Amish in town, we don’t very often see them using their traditional form of transportation. They usually pile out of a van driven by one of their “English” neighbors. DuBois . . . the new Lancaster!

    • I had to Google what a “buckboard” was. Never knew the official name for their transportation. Speaking of the Amish, I was actually able to have dinner with an Amish family 2 years ago. It was great fun!

  3. Wow, love all the pics! I’m always amazed by people who can make food look pretty! I think hospitality is such a gift and I am always in awe of people who have it. Looks like a fun and delicious time! BTW, I love the tea pitcher and glasses. So pretty!

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