Results tagged “tea”

Morocco part 1: tea and crumpets

Smtaginetomatoes0001.JPGWe didn't quite know what to expect from Morocco - we'd heard very different and conflicting reports.  To some people, it's the home of one of the world's classic cuisines, and some of the best street food you'll find anywhere; to others, it's apparently an interminable round of underspiced vegetable tagines.  Which would we find?

We knew some things, of course - but there was a lot more we didn't know.  We knew they ate a lot of couscous here - but what is it actually made of, and how?  We had to make it our mission to find out.  (Our friend Robert told us we really didn't need to go all the way to Morocco for this - Smfesbeghrirplate0001.JPGjust buy a packet from Waitrose and pour boiling water on it.  And he has a point.  But it turned out there's a lot more to it than that).

And we knew they drank a lot of tea, too.  But we really weren't expecting the crumpets ...

Turkey II: Syria (nearly) to Greece

Smmountainpass0001.JPGAfter our epic journey to Erzurum, we had a very long day's drive ahead of us to get to Mardin and the south-east.  Partly because it's quite a long way; partly because we took quite a roundabout route.  But also because as well as getting stopped by the police as usual, we started getting stopped by the army.  This is PKK country: villages have military watchtowers, and roads have frequent checkpoints.  (Perhaps a bit like Northern Ireland in the 1970s, but with more kebabs.) There's a fair amount of traffic, though, so you'd have thought they'd have seen someone like Anna driving a Land Rover before, but apparently not: once the first soldier saw who was at the wheel, he immediately called the rest of the squad over for a laugh.

But it was definitely worth the drive.  Not only was the south-east probably the highlight of the trip (although it's a close call), we went on from that to see the centre and the coast in ways that most tourists don't get to do - mostly because of the people we met.

So read on for stories of underground ovens, underwater cities, pizzas as long as Anna is tall, and ice cream you eat with a knife and fork.

Ten Turkish tastes

Copy (1) of Smzelispazaraubergines0001.JPGIt's ridiculous to try to sum up Turkish cuisine in 10 flavours.  Turkish cuisine is hugely rich and infinitely varied, not least because a) Turkey's absolutely enormous - have you looked at a map recently? - comprising three different coastlines, high snowy mountains, very hot, dry plains and lush wooded hillsides, among other things, and b) its cooking has been influenced over the centuries by Mongolian, Chinese, Persian and Greek cultures and then, through the enormous Ottoman empire and its trade routes, many more, including Moroccan and French.

But I'll give it a go...

Teatime in Turkey

Smteaglass0001.jpgDespite being an unashamed coffee snob and addict, five weeks in Turkey has almost converted me to tea.  This is because you can’t avoid it, and soon learn that no social meeting, business transaction or meal is complete without a glass or three of çay.  Of course, Turkey used to be famous for its strong shots of thick coffee, but these days it’s glasses of tea you see all over the ‘café’ tables.

Something to do with tea

Smteaglass0001.jpgAs we've been collecting recipes in the various countries we've travelled through, we've noticed that not only does the food itself change as we move, but the way of talking about it changes too.  People tend to measure volumes, for example, in terms of the utensils they're used to and have handy.  In the UK people might talk about pints; in the US, they tend to think in cups.  Here in Turkey, they talk about glasses and cups - but, of course, they're Turkish glasses and cups.

This means they're much nicer to look at.  It also means they're not the size you expect (even if you recognise the name).  And, of course, it means we need to work out what to call them.

Tea is çay; a glass is a bardak.  So is a tea glass a "çay bardak"?  Not likely - this is Turkish ...


Culinary Anthropologist