Food Field Note

Abstract: A short blurb about this article:
Food is a high priority in my life. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day or work or school and sitting down to your favorite meal. Imagine eating the same thing every day for the rest of the month, or even year! Even if it were your favorite food ever, you would get bored. Breakfast, lunch or dinner (and dessert): I have not gotten tired of a single meal here in Turkey! Breakfast options are endless, lunches are light but delicious and dinners are always a treat. The foods used here are just like the ones you can find at home: eggs, vegetables, rice, beans and chicken but there is something so tasty about the way Turkish treats are prepared. And I haven’t even mentioned dessert! Everything is freshly made and popped right out of an oven or drizzled with sugary goodness. Although there are McDonalds and Burger Kings here and there, it feels so funny to see them when there is delicious fresh “fast” food at every corner! Street foods in Istanbul are my favorite part about this city. Have you ever been walking in a mall or down the street and said, “Wow I am hungry”? Imagine at every corner there was a man with a cart of freshly made simit, a Turkish sesame-seed bagel, just waiting as if he had read your mind! All of this deliciousness and more lie waiting in the streets, restaurants and kitchens of Istanbul!

I love food, which is why I love Turkey so very much. There is something special about a dish that has been thoughtfully prepared with you, the eater, in mind. Even fast food on the streets are not unfrozen, deep-fried and shoved into a paper bag.  Döner is prepared carefully so that every juicy piece of food fits perfectly into fresh bread. Wraps with pomegranate juice, bulgur, fresh parsley and lettuce have that tangy, spice that even Taco Bell can’t even compete with! Yet my favorite meals here are the ones that give me options: mezes. Beautiful, exotic and wonderfully delicious appetizers with your every taste bud in mind.

The meze is usually served with fresh baked flat bread called pide. Eggplant dishes served hot and cold are very popular among the meze options, but I have seen some pretty different ones as well. A delicacy here is…brains! Yes, cow brains served cold is another meze! If and when I try it, I will let you know what I think. Another great meze that you can also find at home is hummus. I have to say, there is something so wonderful about the hummus here and I think it is the olive oil. Olive oil is native to this part of the world and used in almost every dish. Even desserts! Grape leaves with rice and spices are another favorite of mine. They have a unique flavor that is sweet, but not too sweet and crunchy, but not too crunchy. I like to think of it as a Mediterranean sushi roll! Have any of you ever tried Mediterranean food? Fish, olive oil, hummus and baklava are my suggestions. Who knew great tasting food could really be good for you too?

What food did I try?: 

Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, then soaked in olive oil.

How did I feel when I tried it?: 

So nervous! It looks a little like sea-weed.

How is the food prepared?: 

The grape leaves are dried, then soaked in olive oil. Rice, herbs, spices and sometimes minced meat are rolled up inside of the leaves and soak in the moisture.

Is this food connected to the local environment? How?: 

Very much so! The grape leaves are grown in the eastern part of the country and used in almost every meal. It is a traditional meze or appetizer seen in restaurants, kitches and grocery stores.

Turkish Dining

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