Sunday, December 18, 2011

celebrate local foods week

Last week many classes had parties with lots of food. Not only did I see the quantity of food, I had the pleasure of a last-period-on-Friday-2nd-grade class whose behavior gave testament to the number of empty calories consumed during the day.It took my questioning of several different teachers to understand the reason for the parties. And, I'm not sure this is an exact translation but I think the purpose of the parties was to eat food prepared only from local ingredients. Based upon the quantity and variety of food prepared, Malatya must be the food belt of the country. Aside from the expected apricots and pistachios, there were tons of sweets and savories, an abundance of fresh produce and a large assortment of nuts and dried apricot seeds. I'm finding the sweets here are either too sweet as in honey-dripped baklava, or too bitter as in a chocolate cookie that tastes like it has cocoa powder but no sugar. I have my best luck with the savory snacks like a cookie or pastry filled with spinach. They tend to please my palate the most. Also, the apricot seeds are as good or better than almonds.

I love the food experiences but the quantity of food is daunting. And my polite refusal of any snacks or asking for a tiny taste gets either lost in the translation, is not understood from my accent, or is just incomprehensible to the Turkish portion standard. So, I follow the lead of the other teachers, allow the students to load my plate to overflowing, carry the plate to the English teacher work room, nibble a taste of everything and then place the rest in trash bin.

By the way, the green colored cake on the plate was colored with spinach. (Ah, ha moment...)Using spinach explains why I can't find food coloring at the store. I guess I'll skip the green frosted Christmas tree sugar cookies this year.

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