CHARLOTTE – Breakfast and more

Breakfast and moreA well-known Turkish proverb about friendship and coffee reads, andquotA cup of coffee commits the drinker to 40 years of friendship.andquot In my previous article, andldquoKaramanmaraI: cuisine and cultureandrdquo (March 14, 2015), I promised readers that in my next piece Iand#39d share all about breakfast.

Some Americans probably think that there is not much to say about this, because for them it is coffee and a donut on the run. Well, you could not be further from the truth when you are talking about a traditional Anadolu breakfast!I regularly receive notes on my Todayand#39s Zaman Facebook page asking questions about Turkish culture and food.

Here is a letter that is a typical query I regularly receive:andldquoDear Charlotte: I am a newcomer to Turkey and am lovinand#39 it! Turks are so friendly and hospitable! They love to eat and just sit around and pass the time. I am enjoying trying all the local food and drink.

I have received an invite to a friendand#39s home for breakfast and am wondering what to expect. This is supposed to be a traditional breakfast and I am not sure what that means.

I know I should expect more than a bowl of Corn flakes. From Tracei (Michigan,U.

SA)andrdquoDear Tracei: Thanks for your note to my Todayand#39s Zaman Facebook account. I always enjoy hearing from readers.

Let me explain what you could be in for and make two suggestions to you, which are:Donand#39t eat anything before you go because you are in for a feast allow plenty of time and do not be in a rush.There are different variations of a traditional Turkish breakfast but it can be comparable to what we think of as brunch.

Youand#39ll notice it is usually served a little later in the morning and is not to be rushed.What to expect? First of all, there will be a variety of cheeses such as some of these: Ezine white cheese, Kars mature yellow cheese, erkez herbal cheese (Isil erkez) Erzincan cheese (Tulum), cheese with aroma of garlic or thyme which is made from sheep or cowand#39s milk and semi-hard in texture and salty in taste (Otlu peynir), Tulum cheese, yellow mild cheese, grilled halloumi cheese (izgara helim peyniri), goat cheese (tam yaIlI white cheese) and on and onandhellip Of course, not all of these will be on the table, but you can expect three or four of them to be served.

Then you have a selection olives — my favorite are green olives from Antakya and black olives from Gemlik. The table will be beautifully laid out and the food will be a colorful presentation with an assortment of vegetables, fruits and condiments, such as sliced hot pepper (acuka), tahini and grape molasses (tahin pekmez), honeycomb honey (petek honey) and homemade clotted cream, orange marmalade or another flavor, tomatoes, cucumber, roka, boiled eggs or a village-style fried egg and beef sausage (sucuk), accompanied by a bread basket.

Sometimes you may also be served a variety of dried fruits or fresh fruit. Dried apricots, walnuts and figs are popular Oh! And I nearly forgot the delicious layered pastry with cheese (su boreIi) and cured spiced beef (pastIrma).

You can plan on washing it all down with plenty of Turkish tea Turks love their tea! Served in a small tulip-shaped glass (although the middle classes may drink from a larger cup too) with no milk and usually sweet. So be ready for a few tulip-shaped glasses of Turkish tea Sometimes foreigners are unsure how to hold the glass because it is very hot.

Here is my tip on how to hold the tea glass without burning your fingers. The tulip-shaped glass must be held at the top to avoid burning your fingers.

Be warned! Your tea glass will be automatically refilled, many, many times.If you do not want another serving, you can surprise your host by placing your tea spoon flat over the top of the glass.

Your hostess will be pleased that you know this and she will understand that you prefer not to have any more teaTruly, in Turkish culture, friendships are strengthened as people drink together This time can cement a friendship or clinch a deal.If you were a male being invited around to a Turkand#39s home for a meal, they might be getting ready to set you up! According to legend, centuries ago (or maybe even just a few decades ago), a potential bride was judged by how well she made her coffee.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman