Friday, June 27, 2008

Good food and friends...

With my first week here coming to an end, I am slowly getting used to things. The major one is that not everyone speaks English, so making due is the name of the game. Everyone is actually apologetic about not speaking English which I find sad because I feel that I really should know their language if I'm going to be living in their country for a while. Regardless, the Turkish people seem to be very nice. Professor Bayram and her students have been very gracious and nice to me. I have gone to lunch with Damla two days in a row. The first day was with her two friends that are in the dept, and today with Zeynep, another girl in our research group. She is trying to expose me to as much Turkish food as possible. We were laughing that it's going to make us both fat.

As far as the food is concerned, everything is wonderful. I really haven't had food like this before. Whatever restaurant you go to here on campus, they seem to really pride themselves in giving you really great tasting food. The choices are always pretty extensive, and the portions are always large. The breakfasts here are different that in the States. Instead of having heavy meals that include anything but vegetables, here in Turkey breakfast consists of small sandwiches with goat cheese, tomatoes, and peppers, or slices of cheese with veggies with a roll. If you want something sweet, there are syrups to go with bagle looking breads. The one in the picture below has a dark and dense filling. It reminds me of something very similar in the States, but it's not coming to mind at the moment. Although, it does remind me of almonds, so maybe someone has a suggestion on what the filling is called.

I have had Turkish coffee the past few days. Turkish coffee is made with special tea makers in whcih water is boiled and pured over tea in a kettle and set to steep. These kettles have resting places on top of the vessel in which the water was boiled. When the tea is done steeping, you only pour enough tea to fill the bottom section of a special tea cup. The rest of the cup is then filled with water. Well, the first day, I didn't know you needed to add water. Today, I saw the woman in front of me add water, so I followed suit. Interestingly enough, it didn't seem to change the intensity of the tea.

For lunch, Damla insisted we go to a buffet on campus. It was really good! Going clockwise from the bottom left part of the dish is kisir (like tabbouleh), then flat bread filled with spiced ground lamb, a tomator, basil, and onion salad, a Dolma, a small spongy potato patty with rosemary, parsley, and mint mixed in, and the a stuffed mushroom. In the center of the dish was a very yummy eggplant dish that had a tomato base. All of this food was really yummy. For dessert, in the upper right is rice pudding. The version has a lot less rice and is more runny than the American versions of rice pudding. Zeynep got a dessert that I think was sweetened bulgar that has been squished into a ball. It was really good as well. Well, I'm falling asleep, so I'll try to post on the street signs around here tomorrow.

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