Saturday, December 09, 2006

Portrait of a Turkish Woman

My Turkish mother-in-law is a very special woman. She has survived the death of two husbands, raised three wonderful children, cared for an ailing mother for years (then an ailing brother followed by her husband) -- and still at 78 she has the strength, energy, and spirit of a woman half her age.

When I first moved to Turkey in the early 1990s, my husband and I lived for several months with his parents in Ankara until he started his position in the university in Antalya. While I always loved and respected my mother-in-law, I will have to admit that as a result of culture shock and cultural differences, I didn't always recognize and appreciate her advice on food preparation or nutrition (not to mention in other areas!). Now I'm happily eating my words -- as well as her recipes.

I still prefer to drink my milk cold first thing in the morning (she insisted cold milk would give me a sore throat), but now I wish I could buy the good, fresh, raw milk by just yelling to the sütcu passing outside my window every morning as she did. I've learned the value of slow food preparation, fermented vegetables and drinks, as well as lots of healthy fish and a salad at every meal (including breakfast!).

So, when my husband traveled to Turkey recently, I asked his mother to write down as many recipes and traditional nutritional advice as she could remember. I'll be sharing these with you over the next few weeks.

Thank you, Anne! (Anne is the Turkish word for mother.)

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