Unbuckle Your Pants, This is a Long Post About Turkish Food

I think I must have been Turkish in a previous life. Which I guess would make me an Ottoman. And despite the fact that I don’t believe in reincarnation. But neither do the Turks, who are predominantly Muslim, and not Buddhist. Which is just another fact that reinforces my belief that I must have been Turkish in a former life – ie: neither Turkish people nor I believe in reincarnation, ergo: I must have been Turkish in a former life.

The real reason I think this must be a fact is that I absolutely loved every single thing I ate in Turkey. All of it. And not just “liked.” Luuuurrrvved. Made noises and carried on about. Ate more than my fair share of and stabbed others who might have wanted a second helping of something. (Well, I am a girl with a hearty appetite)

Let’s start with my absolute favorite thing in the whole wide world from now on and forever. Behold, Ceviz reçeli. It’s a dessert, but it sounds pretty unappetizing. It’s basically whole walnuts still in their husks and shells, that are softened with slaked lime and then candied in sugar water and spices. I know, I know, sounds gross, right? I thought so too.

ceviz from Istanbul

They come out on the plate all dark and slick and disgusting looking. But ceviz receli are the most unusual and divine thing ever. They’re soft but still firm and just so different from anything else you’ve ever eaten. I immediately demanded that our tour guide Levon takes us to a market stall so I could buy a jar to take home, which I did. I’m also very relieved to find that you can buy a jar online for about $10, so I don’t have to bogart my stash.

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