Reub's journey

05 September 2012

Turkish delight

Because of the greedy little kid in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I've long held a negative opinion of Turkish Delight, plus I always thought it was made out of rose water and tasted like soap.

It turns out that's not true. I now know this because of the largesse of our new Turkish friends, Kayham and Sezgin, visiting professors from central Turkey whom John sponsored for a 2 month stay at OSU.  They brought us a box of coconut Turkish Delight that is to-die-for: a very nice, unlooked-for gift.

Their wives and families came with them for a few weeks, and we had the whole gang over for dinner. Damn, why didn't I know it was still Ramadan!!  That's when Muslims fast until sundown, which occurred a bit late that night. At least I knew not to serve pork or alcohol. They were very relaxed about my breach of knowledge, and only K adhered to the exact moment of sundown, watching for it on the internet, eating his dinner an hour after everybody else.



 In the back yard the kids played for hours with Ed and Reub, who enthusiastically endorsed them. I was flabbergasted because:

1.  Eddy always overwhelms children with his desire to play, and Reuben is always terrified of kids because he sees them as unpredictable.
2.  These particular kids have never had a dog, and come from a culture where canines are generally lowly street creatures, not house pets. Shouldn't they have been freaked out by these big dogs? They were not. Instead they were charmed by Eddy's tennis ball obsession, entranced by Reub's truly weird play routine (some day I'll describe it, or he will). Reub wasn't even slightly uncomfortable with them, and Ed was ecstatic.



 Turks must have a gift-giving tradition. That evening I was presented with a large bouquet of fresh daisies, a white silk shawl, and a cunning little 11-piece Turkish coffee set, plus a bag of the right kind of coffee.



This is Turkish coffee, creating just the right amount of foam as it heats up.
AND a lesson in how to make Turkish coffee. Are you kiddin' me? They had me with the Turkish Delight.



But that's not all. Before coming to the US they asked what to bring: "anything...anything at all" Sezgin said. Music-lover John jokingly said not to worry, that some day he would go to Turkey and get himself an oud.



Tezgin gives John a lesson in Turkish music
Imagine John's shock when he was presented with an oud (on the left), complimenting the saz (right) that he already owns. An embarrassment of gifts, he had seriously only joked about that oud, and look what happened. He swears that he only aided his guests a little, just a small amount here and there, nothing that might deserve such a gift from strangers.




As Sezgin gave John the music lesson this past Sunday, his overturned coffee cup sat on its dish. I had asked for a fortune-telling demonstration, but my cup had been washed already, so he agreed to tell his own fortune.


"There is a hand," he said, "reaching up to accept a lot of money. Maybe I'll become rich!" 
I see the hand. Do you?




"I see a beautiful young girl, with long dark hair..." and you know what, this I could not see at all, at least not then. What I saw was a howler monkey in a tree, which I now have trouble deciphering but I can kind of see the girl. There are lots of things you could read into the designs on this little cup! Sezgin was a good sport to play this game, but now I would love to go have my fortune read in Ankara, for real, after drinking my cup of Turkish coffee.



For now, I'll just have another bite of Turkish Delight with coconut; hold the rose water please.


24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. The oud is really neat. I love to hear it.

      Delete
  2. I just returned from Turkey and much as I tried I just didn't care for it much. The stuff was everywhere and everyone was enjoying it except me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was the first Turkish Delight that I really liked. It must vary quite a bit?

      Delete
  3. Wow, this was great an experience for you. SOunds like a great time. I would love to try Turkish delight...of any variety, except the one from the Witch in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been fun getting to know these guys. I'm not sure where you can find good Turkish delight here in the US, but I hope you can!

      Delete
  4. Wow. what a wonderful evening. I've read of the traditions of hospitality and gift giving. so wonderful that it has not gone the way of modern living. what a fun night for you. I've never had Turkish Delight myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Modern living should never let go of hospitality and generosity, but sometimes it does.

      Delete
  5. Turkish coffee is so good, i was lucky enough to know a shop owner here who insisted on brewing some for me when he learned i liked it ... there is a very big tradition of gifting in Turkey (and other parts of the Middle East) and watch out .. if you admire something your friend/acquaintance is wearing, they will give it to you ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you can get good Turkish coffee in NYC, yet another reason to try for a visit there some day.

      I will need to be careful of admiring anything they're wearing!

      Delete
  6. these are the most generous people! wow! i'm so glad the kids enjoyed the pups and vice versa! awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their kids + E&R were a surprisingly perfect match.

      Delete
  7. What a wonderful visit you had! Is the coffee so different than what we can get at Starbucks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The coffee comes as a fine powder, and creating a perfect cup of Turkish coffee involves watching it as it heats up. You must capture the foam just before the boiling point, distribute it between cups, then complete the brewing.

      Does Starbucks sell a Turkish brew? I don't know!

      Delete
  8. What wonderful, giving natures your guests have. Not only the gifts but the lessons in how to use them. Your pooches know good people when they see them. Your photos are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they the nicest?

      And dogs do often know about people, don't they?

      Delete
  9. Love this - all of it. I am a serious fan of the oud.

    The coffee cup looks like people dancing around a campfire to me - perhaps your community here and on FB and in your "real world" community. That's the best kind of richness, hey?

    Great pics. Fantastic post. Yay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The beautiful song that John learned from Tezgin is called "Don't Wear White." Mysterious.

      Hey I see that dancing crowd! I love that. Richness for sure.

      Delete
  10. Fantastic. I saw your daughter over the weekend, up in Maine, where I did not win. Thank goodness. But I got to play a bazouki!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, I thought a bazouki was a weapon... oh right, that's a bazooka. Is a bazouki like a Greek oud? And weren't you supposed to be in the middle of a woods playing badass golf? J was there too? huh!

      Delete
  11. Such thoughtful and generous guests! I love that they didn't come down on anyone for not adhering strictly to Ramadan. That last shot of the dessert cake looks yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are wonderful folks. Not sure how to repay all of this!

      The last shot is of Turkish delight on a little Turkish plate made just for it. Turkish delight is a gelatinous sweet, dusted with sugar or in this case, coconut. So pretty!

      Delete
  12. My goodness, they sound like wonderful and generous souls. What a delight to have such good people share your food and hospitality! Also, the cakes look delicious, and especially so if washed down with some of that good strong coffee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suldog, the best thing about the Turkish coffee is that I now know how to make it.

      Delete

Talk to me.