Sunday feels like a middle of a working week. The borderline between weekend and week days has been blurred for me. Because I don’t work in the office I can stay back at home and do some work on Sunday to avoid the weekend crowds, however hard it is with the windows open in the middle of Moda. I then can choose a quieter day during the week to rest. This rhythm is in sync with my family, and you understand me if you have ever worked in the hospitality.
I rarely stress the fact I do not eat meat because I find that vegetarianism is a corrupted concept even among vegetarians themselves. My choice of not eating meat is not ideological: I may pity the slaughtered animals but I understand there is a natural order of things, and it’s logical that man domesticated some animals to secure the supply of extremely nutritious food. I have never preached to anybody about following my lead because doing so often comes from your own insecurity about your choice, and I feel strong about mine.
Recent shopping for a camera cable got me into yet another enlightening conversation I always find myself having with the locals – on the matters of Turkish food. A few days ago I came back to Istanbul from Sapanca and realized that I had left the camera cable at our countryside place. Getting a new one would be a major undertaking in many cities I have lived in but not in Istanbul. A few minutes after the realization I was already in Kadıköy at one of those han (little business center) packed with electronic stores. I found one selling cables of any possible kinds and could even be customized as appeared from a man fussing with a rather complex adapter system including many cables, cutoff points and such. I was immediately handed out the exact cable I needed.
I knew I had to make kerebiç cookies since the first time I saw the molds. There was a strange familiarity in these wooden beauties carrying geometrical messages carved on their shaping cavity. Some of those carvings had a clear reference to the cross, an archetypal sign that for any Christian including myself has am important religious reference that I would least associate with the South-East of Turkey where the cookies are coming from. Also, kerebiç molds remotely resembled gingerbread molds used in Russia to make pryaniki, or what outside of my home country goes by the name of Russian tea cakes.
Clearly, kerebiç cookies had to happen, and I bought a few molds. Little I knew back then how this purchase would bring me to the discovery of endless cultural, religious and culinary bonds between so many countries.
I thought I was never going to write a post like this but the more I read the more obliged I feel to. I am going to tell you about perfect hummus. I mean it. I know, the originality of my intention is zero – who has not posted a hummus recipe or two with claiming reasonable perfection? Hummus is not longer viewed as an exotic dish coming from the Middle East but a simple fix of the ingredients readily available to a modern day home cook. Maybe that explains the whole deal of the wanna-be-hummus recipes out there which do not get you anywhere close to the real deal. Unlike the one I am going to share.
I am not kind of person who will eat the very same food over and over again and will get happy beyond reason. Unless that food is the fish cakes (balık köftesi) prepared by the chef of my most favorite fish restaurant in Istanbul. Sometimes as I am waiting for the shuttle from Kadıköy to depart for the Harem bus station where I will get on a bus to Sapanca I am popping in the place, and they know my order already – a plate of köfte made of Black Sea salmon.
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When traveling I am always looking forward to my breakfasts. I could never quite buy into the idea of Asian morning meal with a spicy stew kicking off the day. Nor I am a huge fan of the European “coffee and pastry” concept. That’s why Turkey is a safe heaven for me: Turkish breakfast is a full-fledged meal with its own “breakfast only” items. In fact the Turkish breakfast idea is so powerful that you can substitute any meal of a day with breakfast (but not the other way around).