March 4, 2012

Galata, Istanbul. June, 2007

One of the frustrating things about visiting the wonderful markets on my travels is that I’m usually without a kitchen in which to prepare the beautiful produce I find. Not so here in Istanbul. I was staying in the Galata Residence, a 19th-century apartment building converted into a budget hotel that offers rooms and suites with small kitchens. Not that anything in this breakfast of mine needed cooking. Three kinds of in-season and perfectly ripe fruit -- the season’s first cherries, famed Turkish apricots and a sour green plum called erik. The thickest and creamiest yogurt. And two kinds of baked goods purchased from a nearby cart after my early morning run -- açme, a yeast-risen, brioche-like donut, and poğaça, a sesame-studded flaky pastry filled with cheese, meat or black olives. Truth be told, there was a third, simit, a crusty, seed-covered “Turkish bagel,” but I ate it before I thought to take this picture. Also not shown, the tea I’d made, thanks to the hotplate in my kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. Leave it to you, Sandy, to pick not only native fruit but also THE MOST native of all -- apricots and cherries -- which originated in Asia Minor. The cherry tree was unknown elsewhere until Roman General Lucullus (history's first gastronome), discovered it in 70 B.C. when he conquered Cerasus or Cerasion (meaning "Cherry Town"), which is now Giresun, Turkey. Lucullus took cherry saplings back to his famous Horti Lucullani gardens, along with apricot trees, native to Armenia. The English word "cherry" (Italian "cerasa," French "cerise," German "kirsch") is derived from the name of this city, famous in ancient times for its cherry trees and its annual cherry festival. It is also said that the Amazon Women liked to hang out in "Cherry Town" -- which may be the origin of another meaning of the word: