Around the World in 12 Plates: Turkey
All right, I confess. I didn’t cook at all in July. I was working on an archaeological dig, so Around the World in 12 Plates: Turkey has to take a different approach. Did you know I moonlight as an archaeologist? I spent my first season working at Çadır Höyük as a student in 2012, and I’ve been lucky enough to return two more times as an illustrator: Apparently I’m good at drawing pottery and ancient walls — who knew. For Around the World in 12 Plates: Turkey, I’m not going to tell you what I cooked because I didn’t cook! I’m going to tell you about what Satihanim made for us each and every day.
Three meals a day in the field
There are actually four meals consumed each day working at Çadır Höyük, and I was basically hungry all the time, so I ate a lot. Here’s how it all goes down.
Before we go out to the excavations in the early hours of the morning, we eat a quick and simple first breakfast. Tea and coffee, bread with creamy cheese or Çokokrem (Turkish Nutella). This meal is often consumed while hopping onto Sadiq’s van as he drives us out to the field.
This is my favourite meal of the day, so much so I wrote a whole blog post about it two years ago. Read about it here. On days off, we are lucky enough to get menemen, a delicious egg dish made with stewed tomatoes, green peppers and oregano.
Lunch and dinner look very similar at the dig. Satihanim makes a variety of things: a stew made with fresh okra and tomatoes, manti with a rich yoghurt sauce or çiğ köfte, a vegetarian kofte made with bulgur. Stuffed peppers are always a favourite, and stuffed eggplant is welcomed with whoops of joy.
There is always çoban salatası (shepherd’s salad) with cucumber, tomato, greens and parsley with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. There is always a giant vat of thick yoghurt to smother your food with deliciousness. There is always bread.
Carbs on carbs on carbs. It would not be strange to eat a meal with rice, potatoes and bread at the same time — sometimes there are french fries too. Like lunch, dinner is eaten together as we devour things like rich lentil soup, dolmas or meat kofte.
While not a set meal, the Snackbox was instituted in the lab (the place where we do our non-field work) a few years ago. We pool money together to keep this treasure trove of treats mountainous at all times. Needless to say, I didn’t lose any weight on the dig. From paprika flavoured potato chips to chocolate covered brownies, the Turkish know how to snack.
What everyone cooked for Around the World in 12 Plates: Turkey
Here’s all the awesome bloggers involved in Around the World in 12 Plates: Turkey. They actually cooked things!
11 thoughts on “Around the World in 12 Plates: Turkey”
wow! With all that food I would be hungry all the time too! What an experience. Sadly, I can’t eat eggplant but I would be eating everything else. What kind of bread did you usually have? I got addicted to the really long chewy bread, sometimes topped with black sesame seeds but I can’t find it in Calgary. Also, I seriously want some of that manti…do you know how to make it?
There are different types of bread, typically at the dig we ate long fat loaves of white bread! The really chewy bread is actually typically eaten during Ramadan because its unleavened, but you can also get it at some places! I asked the difference, but don’t really have names for them, it’s all bread to them haha
The manti we usually eat at the dig didn’t have much filling, it was more pasta like and I know many people just buy them at the store, but I want to make my own at some point and stuff them! It’s my favourite Turkish food!
What a fantastic experience, Gabby! My brother has a degree in Archeologia but never worked on an archeological dig. He works in the post office in Rome nowadays. think about that 😉 ! That lady is amazing, she cooks for everybody 3 meals a day, and what meals! When I saw those stuffed eggplant I was drooling!! Thank you for taking us with you in this journey!
Thanks! That’s so cool about your brother 🙂 I feel very lucky I get to go and work there! Satihanim is the best and her food is so good, I don’t think other archaeological digs have it as good as we do 🙂
That’s so cool that you’re able to be a part of that!! You should share some illustrations on here!
Thanks Shareba! I am going to do a “day in the life of an archaeologist” blog post soon, so there will be photos then! Stay tuned 🙂
Oh my gosh, this sounds like my kind of trip – all the food all the time! Very cool and very delicious-sounding!
WOW! What an experience! I’m sure it’s grueling work, but it looks and sounds so fun. Great looking food, oh my!
It is grueling and hot work, it’s 40 degrees many days! But so worth it, and a delicious meal to look forward to always helps 😉