I will say the last thing first—I am not very into cooking, and I don’t think my cooking will ever be on par with my mom’s unless I spend more time in the kitchen. However, no matter what a clumsy cook I am, nothing can make me happier than cooking one of my favorite Turkish foods in the world: etli nohut yemeği. It means “beef stew with chickpea,” but it’s usually chicken in my case.
I bought some imported goods during the holidays, hoping I could cook something for T a few times. I cooked lentil soup a few days ago, and he was head over heels with it. I was a bit hesitant to cook the chickpea meal at first because I didn’t have one of the main ingredients: salça, aka tomato paste. No Turkish meal tastes good without it, and if you have ever visited Turkey, you know how much we love that stuff.
I was walking at one of the imported goods shops in the morning and came across tomato paste. I swear the sight of it was enough to bring tears to my eyes. I could imagine how many meals I would cook with it and sleep happily afterward. I must have imagined in front of the aisle for a while because a shop assistant finally approached to ask if I needed anything.
After my little discovery, I headed home, skipping like a kid, and started cooking the chickpea meal. T didn’t understand why I was so content and even sang a song while cooking. Let’s face it: he doesn’t get to see me cooking that often after all, does he? The food turned out alright, but I guess I shouldn’t have put peppermint in it. The taste was a bit too fresh because of it. The best spice that goes well with this meal is usually black pepper, by the way.
Cooking isn’t second nature to me. I am still scared of using numerous tools and ingredients in the kitchen. Yet, I can do wonders when I have a mission to make my tummy (and hubby) happy. And mind you, I am a Taurus with an insatiable appetite for scrumptious food! Since I put on a few kilograms last year, I have been trying to curb it a bit, though. This subject requires a blog of its own (sigh) and will be discussed in due time.
People often ask me if I miss Turkish food because I have been away from Turkey for seven years now. I can only say I will never understand food patriotism. To be honest, I have kept myself alive eating various Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese foods, and whatnot all these years. I occasionally gobble down Turkish food, but do I really miss it to the point of spending my hours looking for it and cooking it? Not really.
To sum up, there are so many great foods out there, but I don’t need Turkish food to be happy. It’s rich, coming from a picky eater like me, I know, but I am almost always delighted to try new food and want this year to be the year of new cooking (ad)ventures!
P.S: I am against food patriotism, but I understand why some people take pride in their countries’ foods.
P.P.S: Did you know that chickpeas cause gas like other beans, if not more? T didn’t. Mwahahaha!
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