To honor our veterans, to herald in the first days of summer, and to satisfy a deep need to speak English I invited my recent acquaintance and a State Department fellow from the local university to my apartment for a traditional American bbq. There were some good things that came about as a result of this invitation/dinner.
* I got the nerve to order ground beef from the butcher. Because I don't really like the smell and/or the taste of the beef over here, I haven't bought much. But for this occassion I chose the most expensive cut and had the butcher grind it. This was a good choice as the beef was palatable. Next time, however, I have to ask him to put it through the grinder only one time as I prefer a little more texture and a little less mush.
* I bought a portable grill and charcoal, but not briquettes. I think they must save the remnants from the pita furnaces, bag it and sell it as charcoal because the pieces are all shapes and sizes. And, because I didn't see any lighter fluid at the store, I had to inquire as to how to work the grill. (stuffed newspaper in the bottom of the grill warms to briquettes enough to get them lit.)
* I bought beer. I've been very self-conscious about this but I found a "normal" liquor/beer store and the guy running it seemed really friendly even though I'm a women, so now I know where to go.
* I found blackberries and strawberries and bought vanilla ice cream to keep with the red,white, and blue theme.
* I found my first head of iceberg lettuce and it was crisp and delicious!
* My friend baked peanut butter cookies- her first batch here in Malatya- and brought Pringles potato chips, and a jar of lard with bacon bits from Poland (contraband..) which we spread on our burgers to call them bacon cheeseburgers.
We were still talking non-stop at 8:30 so I asked if she would like to stay for the night rather than take the bus back to the university. She liked that idea so we quickly made up the spare bed before we opened the bottle of wine (once I was in the liquor store, I figured I might as well stock up) and the container of Pringles and continued our native English conversation/snack food/wine fest late into the night.
Thank you, veterans, for all your do to keep America safe and for giving us this holiday. I appreciate you more now than ever, and I am anxious for the day when I set foot back on American soil and can give you a proper thank you and enjoy the barbecue tradition with family and friends.