Over the past couple days I’ve had a little cold. Not bad, just enough to make me cranky and enough to give me the excuse to stay in bed more than my morals will typically let me. But this morning I must have been feeling better because all I could think about was food. Not just any food, but raw food that needed to be transformed with slicing, dicing, and heating.
So it makes sense that as I sat, as I do most every morning, with my guide books and friend-provided to-do lists, that I would gravitate to one neighborhood in Istanbul that is known for its fresh food open-air markets. Only problem being: It is is Asia, I’m in Europe. However a little further research uncovered that this is completely surmountable with a stroll along Istanbul’s most famous pedestrian street, a ride on the funicular down to the water, and then a short ferry ride across the Bosporus Strait. I was there in no time. Total transportation cost: About 3 Turkish Lira or $2US.
I found the food bazaar right away, but as is typical of me, I’m too shy to try and actually buy stuff from the street vendors. It would be okay if I knew what the product was (If you have to ask…), knew the quantity I wanted (must do it in the metric system), and if I spoke at least a single, solitary word of Turkish. So as is also typical, I spent my stroll through the market with these thoughts going through my head:
- Oh my god, look at the cheese, I wonder what kind it is, I wonder how much it costs. How much would I buy, 300 grams?
- Do you think it is goat cheese, cow’s milk cheese?
- And look at those olives! That cheese would sure go good with those olives, yes sir-ee, very good I’d bet
- Look at the lamb chops, they sure are nice. I wish I had a grill, I only know how to grill them
- Wonder if I can find some nice pork chops? Duh, not likely. Forget the ham too. Bacon, you’d land in prison.
- “Tavuk.” I think that means chicken. Sure looks like chicken. I could sure go for some chicken. Is “tavuk” chicken”
- “Turkish Delight.” Thanks for the English, but what delights Turks? Looks like some pretty delectable sweets, but with my luck it could be similar to “Spanish fly.” Now wouldn’t that put me in a predicament. (LOL to self)
- Wipe smile off face because the guy selling the beets (beautiful beets, in season beets, I’d sure like to have some of those beets) thinks I’m crazy for walking around with a goofy smile. He knows about the Turkish delights, I just know he does.
- Darn, we’re at the end of the market, let’s get our nerve up and go back and look at those eggs again.
- Shit. They don’t say “tavuk” anywhere, I wonder if their chicken eggs? What does “kaz” mean?
So goes my brain as I stroll through the fresh food market without a single purchase, and then I turn a corner and before me, lo and behold, is a full-fledged grocery store! It’s not a Ralph’s Fresh Faire or a Kroger, but it has light streaming down into it from heaven with angels flying above the entrance door. It was sent to me.
Why is this better? It’s because you can take your time, discern what is in the package, the price is marked (albeit in Turkish Lira, but I can deal with that), and you don’t have to talk to a soul. So, I stocked up! The hardest part was trying to blend in getting back on the ferry laden with grocery bags. I mean really, who goes all the way to Asia to do their grocery shopping?
But I don’t care because we’re having eggs for breakfast tomorrow…tavuk eggs. And for dinner tonight we’re having tavuk, rolled in bread crumbs (I know they’re bread crumbs because I made them myself) fried in olive oil (there’s a picture of an olive on the bottle). We’re having roasted potatoes. I know they’re potatoes…I’m from KY where we had outbuildings dedicated to their storage.
I walked home with my grocery bags and the same smile I had when I thought of the “Turkish Delights.” I didn’t even try to supress it, these Turks are already on to me anyway. I might as well enjoy it.