The Gilded Serpent
best meal, an inspirational picture. (yes, Christina and
I ate almost all of it before crawling off to the haman
Shop, We Bathe,
And We Eat!
Culinary Adventures in Turkey
is so inspiring, wandering around ancient buildings, chatting
with interesting people, buying silk and perfume; in short doing
everything that you don’t do when you are at home.
The more I
travel, the more I love to cook. Since I have been traveling for
more than a few years my cooking has improved in quality as I
have eaten my way across Europe. Italy was my main inspiration
for food the past several years; I worked on my pizza and bread
recipes until my family cried for new tastes. So it was time to
travel to Turkey.
On my recent
trip with tour clients to Turkey I made a decision to learn more
recipes, bring home a lot more spices and make food that tasted
like the wonderful food that I purchased in Turkey.
Turkish food on my trip last year inspired me to try and make
more Middle Eastern foods, but alas, my food attempts tasted
a lot like Italian with out the proper spices and directions.
Egyptian spice market in Istanbul is a wonderful place to be
a new chef, not only does it hold a treasure chest in spices,
it has the most charming men, who know how to cook.
in a fantastic bazaar, established since the early Middle Ages
on the shores of the Golden Horn, just for the importing of spices
to Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Baskets of fabulous spices
are everywhere; rare and expensive spices are kept in containers
at the back of the shop.
Standing in front
of the Market, the ocean shore is just a short walk across the plaza.
Ships from Venice, Marseilles, London, and Amsterdam came to the
Egyptian spice market for the rare spices that changed cooking in
Europe; cumin, saffron, pepper, sugar and many more. Merchants haggled
for spices to take to Europe and make their fortunes, for what cook
in Europe could resist these fantastic tastes after a lifetime of
plainer herbal fare like rosemary and basil.
each Spice Market merchant has his own blend of special spices
for meat, vegetables, and salad.
Since a fair
amount of Turkish food is meat based, despite the rising price
of meat, I had to have several varieties of spice packages both
for meat and vegetables from different merchants. One charming
man boasted that his mix had twenty-two different spices in it.
Vacuum wrap machines
made packaging very easy and secure for transport; quickly I had
a basket of spices to help me in my quest for a more Turkish flavor
to my food in Oregon. (The hard question, do I buy silk or spices?
The same question facing travelers since the Middle Ages.)
I just ate out at a lot of different restaurants and noted what
I like best. There are several styles of food choices in Turkey.
The fastest and least expensive is “Doner kebab”
which is lamb or beef meat cooked on an open spit, cut off and
wrapped in pita bread, options of different toppings include yogurt
or mayonnaise. Next
are “Locantas” a type of cafeteria
style food, this is my favorite lunch choice on a trip, I never
know exactly what I want for lunch, and enjoy choosing some salad
and a stuffed pepper, or something I have never had before. Istanbul
has several great Locantas that I take our clients to. The chefs
are trained in the classical Sultan/ Ottoman style of cooking.
I love mezes, another word for cute little bites
of food. Stuffed mushrooms or “cigma” little rolls
of philo and feta cheese. Shish kebab has restaurants dedicated
to it, they serve salad and rice also.
resemble pizza superficially, the dough is a bit different and handled
differently than pizza, the toppings are often feta and spinach.
rolling “pancakes pida” for dinner.
So I ate for
two weeks, thought a bit, ate a bit more, tried the wine, (that’s
another story!) and now am ready to try cooking Turkish here in
Oregon. I have a bundle of spices on the table, a new pepper grinder
from the Egyptian market.
So stay tuned
for the cooking adventures of Justine the traveler.
comment? Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
more from Justine-
A Rug Story by Justine
stores are interesting, the salesman know an amazing information
about rugs. Rug men tend to be well educated and full of interesting
Of Hamams and Bathing
by Justine Merrill
attendants giggle while dumping scalding hot water on the screaming,
New Dance Contest/Theme Party ”A
Night at Casablanca!” Photos by Lynette, October 2,
2004 at the Benicia Clocktower Benicia, California Sponsored by
Siren In Sanity
Mona el Said in Dallas, Part 2
by Catherine E Barros
12-7-04 Mona el Said in Dallas, Part
1, by Catherine E Barros
by Little Egypt at the Holiday Inn, Dallas Texas September 3 -
It's always nice when you find that someone, whom you've put up
on a big pedestal, is down to earth, just "folks" like the rest
Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part
4 by Edwina Nearing
in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi"
were first published under the title "The Mystery of the
Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued
demand for these articles by making them available to our readers