Just yesterday I reviewed Peggy Hanson's book "Deadline Istanbul", the first in this series. Cllck here to read my review. This is a great mystery story but as I mentioned it is also a travel log of Turkey! And what would be better then to find out the different culinary delights that can be found there as well! Just look at those pastries above--oh my!!
Peggy Hanson has written a guest post to tell us all about all the great food to be had in Turkey! My stomach is grumbling--And guess what Baby my Cat has decided she wants to visit Turkey because cats are allowed to sit under the tables while patrons eat!
Now on to the guest Post
“EAT YOUR WAY AROUND TURKEY”
Travel can certainly be broadening—especially if you are in a country like Turkey, where the cuisine is justifiably famous and delicious. My first Elizabeth Darcy mystery, DEADLINE ISTANBUL, was a great platform from which to launch into memories of the food I have enjoyed over the past fifty years, since I was a Peace Corps volunteer in a small Anatolian town. What fun to savor the smells and tastes of doner kebab (lamb sliced thinly off an upright spit), of eggplant cooked at least forty-seven ways (now many more than that!), of piquant feta cheese and small black cured olives for breakfast. Fresh fruit and vegetables…shepherd salad…really, I could go on and on.
But I loved mystery at least as much as food, so I can’t say the food actually inspired the books. It just made writing them more fun. And of course I have had many excuses to go back to Turkey over the years—not back to the home-cooking in Cankiri, my Peace Corps town, but to restaurants all over the country. Turkey is a land where one can safely eat at a roadside lokanta, especially if they are serving the hot vegetable or meat dishes that have always been a staple for the populace. You are escorted to the glass case, where you point to what you want and a polite waiter brings it to you. Those little places will also have some form of borek, the pastry made from thin dough wrapped around bits of cheese, meat and broad-leaved parsley. And for dessert, you’ll find creamy rice pudding or nut and honey-laced baklava. Drink ayran, a thick yogurt, salt and water drink (amazingly refreshing, even on a hot day) before you move on to mahogany-colored tea in little tulip glasses or freshly-made Turkish coffee sweetened to your order.
One of my favorite restaurants along the Bosphorus gets named in the book: Ismet Baba’s, in Kuzguncuk village on the Asian side of that beautiful waterway. It’s interesting getting there from Sultanahmet, the old city where many of the historic buildings and monuments are. You take the tram down to the wharf, hop on a ferry, cross to Uskudar, get off and walk past the flower ladies to the bus, which you take for just one stop heading up the Bosphorus. This route puts you in touch with “real” Turks: the commuters, the young people leaving the university campus, the women wearing headscarves, the folks who will help you get aboard each mode of transportation. Elizabeth takes this route quite a lot in DEADLINE ISTANBUL!
Under or near every outdoor table in Turkey are beautiful and well-behaved cats. They know they can’t beg or the waiters will shoo them off. But they can watch your every bite—and if you can resist them, you are either a strong person or a non cat-lover. A little fish? A piece of chicken? Well, that furry charmer needs it more than I do.
In fact, you’re likely to find yourself eating much more in Turkey than at home. The Turks love it that way. “Afiyet olson,” they cry. May it go to your well-being.
Brief Bio and links:
Peggy Hanson is an author and travel blogger who loves to share her international life with her readers. Peace Corps, Voice of America, teaching of English--all these have played major roles in her life. Growing up in a series of small towns in Colorado, the daughter of a mountain-climbing Congregational minister and teacher, probably helped mold her affinity to nomadism. In her adult life, she's lived for extended periods in Turkey, Yemen, India and Indonesia.
Her first two books are mysteries in the Elizabeth Darcy series set in other countries: DEADLINE ISTANBUL and DEADLINE YEMEN. She is currently working on the third in that series, DEADLINE INDONESIA, and is also compiling and editing her great aunt Mary's diaries and letters and pictures from 1888-1920 when she was a missionary teacher and principal in the Balkans. The working title of the diaries is MISS MATTHEWS OF MACEDONIA. It is a story of early feminism and a woman's bravery in the face of war.
All opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. For more information please check my Disclosure Statement. Our giveaways are in no way sponsored or promoted by Facebook.