I Miss Cooking Classes at the Raindrop Turkish House

I Miss Cooking Classes at the Raindrop Turkish House

EDITOR’S NOTE: Phyllis M Skoy’s newest novel, As They Are, takes place in Turkey and is a prequel to her award-winning novel, What Survives. In April 2022, What Survives will be re-released from Black Rose Writing, and As They Are will publish June 16, 2022. Sign up here to be the first to know when they are available for pre-order.

Although I love making Turkish dishes at home, and I have the cookbooks and ingredients all here, I do miss the camaraderie of cooking together at the Turkish House in Albuquerque since the pandemic.

Women are amazingly able to cook together, when they aren’t too possessive of the kitchen or they aren’t obsessed with making sure things are done exactly as they would do them. Chopping the tomatoes while someone else is chopping the parsley, and yet another is chopping the onions and garlic—there is a beautiful rhythm to these tasks.

And it doesn’t matter if I don’t chop the onions like Julia Childs, or even the same way as my friend, Rabia Sahin Orhan at the Raindrop Foundation. Or if my Turkish is beyond terrible, and one of the Turkish women can barely speak English. In the kitchen, we manage to communicate through the language of cooking.

Through these many months of COVID-19, there have been no cooking classes. And as good as I’ve gotten at duplicating some of the recipes, the food just doesn’t taste the same as it does with 20 to 30 hands and hearts involved in the preparation. The feast is not as delectable without the blending of the women putting it all together.

Even my çay (Turkish tea), prepared carefully in my çaydanlık, does not have the same flavor as it does when shared with Turkish friends. There is something basic to Turkish food and drink that requires sharing. This is what I love most about Turkey and the Turkish people.

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