drinking turkey

Two drinks that are found pretty much everywhere in this country that requires no imports of food, one is yogurt, the other, fruit. Pomegranate juice can be found fresh-squeezed or in stores, and I include it here pretty much out of amazement. As a kid, pomegranates were some kind of special treasure that I enjoyed once or twice. Christine hadn’t even had one until we bought it in Bolivia at a market. To see it squashed into juice, then, was quite the sight to us. It was quite strong – we ended up drinking half, then adding water to extend the life and take it down a notch – but that charateristic tartness was definitely there.

Ayran is a yogurt drink that can be found anywhere here in Turkey. It’s a simple concoction of yogurt and water and salt, and it tastes like it sounds. I’ll drink it if it’s served to me as part of a meal, though I won’t order it on its own, but Chris shudders at it. Others love it. To each their own!*

Salep (or as we know it from Egypt, sahlab) is the wonderful hot drink made from orchid tubers that the Ottomans came to know and love. The same thick, warm, milky taste, and the same shake of cinnamon on top make this a welcome drink from any vendor on a chilly evening walk through the park in Istanbul.

*Later update: I’ve found some hand-made versions of ayran that don’t add much or any salt as we’ve moved east. I don’t know if this is an eastern thing or just someone who prefers less salt, but I really like it with no salt – it actually tastes like yogurt! The person who I was drinking it with, however, took the salt shaker and shook it liberally into their glass.

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