Make Yourself a Turkish Breakfast This Weekend
I’m not sure where I discovered the Turkish breakfast. Some time last year, on the Internet, reading our myriad of cookbooks, Tony Bourdain, something, keyed me in on Turkish breakfasts.
And it became a routine, every Saturday, I would walk the dog to the Oak Park Farmer’s, pick up a baguette and a few other item, and put a spread out later than morning for myself and my two daughters. I have a sneaking feeling it started as a way to assuage guilt over splurging on an early season Iron Creek hot house tomato. It was not wasting money, it was delivering Turkish breakfast to the family. A treat.
This year the routine changed. My wife got her own market van, and I did not need to walk the mile each way.
Molly, a little older, gets by with less walk, and I now put a little more movement into the kitchen, making salads for the table. The first week I made one salad from leftover rice and another with Tomato Mountain Chinese cabbage and just the littlest bit of Farmer Vicki’s habanero pepper needed.
Last week, I made a potato salad from last year’s Nichol’s and another of chick peas. Otherwise, it’s mostly plating. You need nothing more than bread, cheese and olives for it to be Turkish breakfast. As Hillel, who probably ate plenty of breakfasts like this might say, the rest is commentary.
Turkish breakfast does seem like a treat to me. The simple act of filling a table (or our buffet as one picture above) with dishes lends the morning an air of luxury and hedonism that a plate of scrambled eggs or stack of pancakes cannot achieve. I like Turkish breakfasts because they are ample, complete. The mix, the small flavor jolts, but also the richness of good cheese and the satisfaction of good bread, the proper amount of sweetness from fruit, jam and honey, achieve almost all I want in a meal. I would offer that my spreads could use just a bit more heft. Slices of basturma or griddled sausages would add a little more grease and gravity to leave me ever slightly more fuller. A meatless meal still hits the spot.
When you put out a spread, you allow your self to sample a range of tastes and sensations. You also allow yourself to arrange your plate to your own tastes. Everyone’s Turkish breakfast differs. We put different things on our plates. We put things on our plates in different ways. For instance, we may both take bread but I spread mine with goat cheese and you spread yours with butter. We eat in different orders. Start with the sweet or end there?
Make yourself a Turkish breakfast this weekend. There’s a good chance you’ll find some kind of splurg-y tomato at a farmer’s market. Then, buy some rocket and make another salad. Find some good local cheeses. As I said last year, the Brunkow grilling cheese tastes little like Turkish frying cheese but achieves same effect. Shop for good olives, good bread, good jam (can do no worse than my wife’s Tomato Mountain). Add an interesting pickle. Make eggs if you have the inclination. Make yourself a Turkish breakfast this weekend. It could become a Saturday routine.