Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Family Family

Hi all,
That was the theme for Bayram. HM's brother, sister and nephew stayed the night at HM's Mother's house just 2 blocks away. We'd had a large feast of lasagna (ala Turk), which sported mushrooms, a white sauce, meat, peppers and lasagna noodles. Interesting, but very good. Before I went to bed I was "warned" that we'd be grilling today: "The best grilling you've ever eaten!" my HD boasted...

Ah, the Food
Breakfast was traditional and later today, with a cooked semi-basted egg, cheeses, bread and sliced sausage that looks like thick pepperoni. Yesterday, after I'd eaten a similar breakfast, HD leaned over and said - with a twinkle in his eye - "Do you want to know what you just ate?". Rewinding to the conversation about intestines, I thought it over and said "Well, I'm pretty sure it's not intestine...oh god, tell me it's not horse?"
"Horse?! No...it is cow...but a male cow...so not beef. What would you call it?"
"Um, I'm pretty sure we'd still call it beef..."
This inexactness chafed a little, it seems. Later, when we sat down to eat the grilled feast HD jokingly said that it could be horse - or dog! (Apparently horse isn't eaten in Turkey, but really, it was a fair question on my part, because it IS eaten as a sausage in some places in Germany. So I meant no disrespect when I suggested it...so it somewhat comforted me for him to compare it to dog!)

But..the grilling was fantastic. It was all mutton, little bone pieces, little steaks, and shishkabobs. Not to mention Kofte the Turkish equivalent of meatballs, but those were made of hamburger. There was also a "salad" made of chunked tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, green onion, and spice green peppers. However, the highlight of the meal for me was when D, HM's best friend and neighbor asked if I wanted a certain dish. It was fried spice peppers covered in yogurt. When D smiles her whole face lights up, and so I decided to try it. She spooned some onto my plate and I made a sound in the back of my throat. She froze, while I haltingly said "Teşekkür ederim" - Thank You. She was so excited and please that she planted an impromptu kiss on my cheek! (I'd made HM help me practice in the kitchen before dinner...)
Turtles and Bubbles
For the kids, the highlight was probably finding the adorably miniature land turtle (tortoise?) living near the back yard. The scooped him up and gave him grass to eat. If he's around tomorrow I'll snap a picture. He's about 2 inches max, and his shell is a good 1.5 inches tall. I was glad to see that the moms made sure the kids went to clean up after handling him though. As I went inside to check something, I noticed that K was happily splashing in the sink. Or what you could still see of it...it was almost overflowing with bubbles! I rushed in and turned off the water (which was a good 6 inches below the lip of the sink, even the bubbles towered a good 6 inches upward from the top edge...) - just as I heard a cell go off. I told K "No more water...ok?" and ran to get the phone. HM had also come in and we walked back to the bathroom at the same time...and what should we see?

Surprisingly, K had left the water off...but had taken bubble removal into his own hands. Since the water had drained leaving a sink full of bubbles...he decided on the natural solution for bubble disposal - the toilet! HM got him rinsed off and I worked on splashing the bubbles down the sink (though they kept re-surfacing through the emergency drain hole on the side for a while...) and we both chuckled as she flushed the offending bubbles away. "He loves his bubbles!"

Tomorrow...Grand Exploration
HM decided I should go out again tomorrow (as she'll be staying home Thursday) and I readily agreed. Since U seemed so unhappy last time we went (I think it was due to excessive time in public transportation...) I decided to pick somewhere closer. I found a palace (Dolmabahce) and the Galeri Nev (free! with important collections and there are 2 special exhibits "Strange Fruit" and "Harem"). When I'd finally decided on my plan, HM asked me if I'd go by myself (ride into town with her, take the subway and funicular) as both are within 10 minutes of a stop and each other. I have my cell after all. So, I'm a little excited and a little scared, though since it's a tourist area I should be just fine. I have a pretty good internal map (for which I thank Speech in High School...learning to navigate all the other HSs) so I should be just fine. I'll be sure to bring my camera.

At any rate, I should go to bed at decent time tonight to be fresh for tomorrow.
Hope all is well,
PS The picture is off my bedroom in the morning light!


Anonymous said...

Beef is beef, right? lol. I'm definitely going to inquire about this one here in North Dakota.

Anonymous said...

I think when you are willing to try different things...including food, language..whatever you are showing respect for their culture. They obviously appreciate that.

Strayling said...

As far as I know, beef is beef...but apparently I'm having someone research for me...lol. My HM has made it a bragging point to family/neighbors/strangers etc that I'm a good eater, but really, what's the point of going somewhere to experience a culture without gaining the most important aspects?!?