Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pistachios and sugar and more pistachios and more sugar.

Jen eats more than her fair share of the kadayıf.

My fondest memories of my grandmother, and there are many, revolve around sweet food. Back in the days before some idiot invented nutrition, when most parents understood that a balanced diet was all that was need to spare a child from obesity and dieticians were thought of with the same abhorrence as African dictators, my grandmother would all but force feed me unending sickly sweet chunks of shortbread topped with glistening red glacé cherry. How I never ended up with a higher Body Mass Index score is anyone’s guess but I suppose I’ll have to thank genetics and the people who invented that particular branch of science.

And so we come to Gaziantep, clearly the sweet capital of the world. What a French bakery might require in sugar for a month’s worth of pain au chocolat goes into the making of a single tray of baklava. Dentistry must be profitable in this town.

As with all places in this part of the world, there’s plenty of history to be had. Unfortunately, we weren’t really up for it in the heat and realized that in fact we’d spent the entirety of the previous day mooching about Urfa during the hottest parts of the day. It had taken its toll. We wandered about languidly in the heat, usually in search more of shade and fresh orange juice than the ethnographic museum, at which we conveniently arrived ten minutes after it had closed.

Gaziantep was a break from Urfa’s heat and surliness, and it did feel good to be back in what we felt Turkey ought to be like. The moustaches were friendlier, the heat less draining and the kebabs forever ubiquitous.

Now it was time to leave the planet altogether and head for the wonderful landscapes of Cappadocia.

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