Sunday, December 30, 2012

The year old goat cheese

Thanks for indulging my quilting addiction - now back to our regularly scheduled Turkey adventures. Lots of pictures this time.

This past month I had another opportunity to venture to the nearby city of Adana with some friends. Someday I hope to be experienced and brave enough to go adventuring on my own in Adana. But I'm not there yet. I have six more months until my fabulous guide Karen leaves us. So there's a New Year's Resolution for ya.

After the usual struggle of parking an American size minivan in a Turkish size parking garage, we set out to explore Old Adana. Our goal was some Christmas shopping.

Cute little shoe repair booth on the corner.
One of the first shops we went into was a shoe shop. Lisa saw some boots that she liked but when she picked one up to look at it - this happened.

 The whole row fell like dominoes. Lisa was so embarrassed but the rest of us (including the shopkeeper thankfully) thought it was hilarious.

And then on the street, right outside a little deli we saw this:
Doesn't it look like something out of a horror movie?

 We looked for a head or other appendages but not finding any, we could not identify what this might be other than it was hairy and creepy.

A little later we saw these two. Not quite as hairy or creepy but still mysterious. It wasn't until our way back to the parking garage that the mystery was solved. A man heard me wondering what Big, Black and Hairy might be and began to talk to us. His English was not great (again, better than my Turkish) but he managed to tell us that it was a goat and that there was cheese inside. This cheese was kept inside the goatskin for a whole year and it was very good. To prove this point he spoke to the deli owner who produced several slices for us to sample. Eating year old stored-in-a-dead-goat cheese was never on my list of goals in life, but when a slice is being offered to you by a nice English speaking Turkish man on the streets of Old Adana, you just put it in your mouth and hope for the best. It wasn't horrible.  It was VERY VERY strong cheese. But I've tasted cheese in a ritzy French Bistro that smelled and tasted like it had been stored in a hairy gym sock for a year. This wasn't near as bad.

I learned later (from asking one of Brannick's Turkish co-workers at the BX) that the cheese is called tulum cheese because the goat skin bag is a tulum. Its a delicacy and rather expensive. Why it was necessary to keep the creepy long goat hair on the tulum I wasn't able to discover.

In addition to our goat cheese adventure, we also visited a puzzle box shop where I purchased a box for Carson. They sell these on base and in the alley but we got a much better price in Adana. This particular one has four steps to open it and the key is stored in a secret compartment on the box. Carson loved it.
 We also went to a copper shop were I purchased this bell for our front door.  Its hard to see but there is a little whirling dervish right in front of the scroll work.  As I am partial to keepsakes that have a function other than collecting dust, I was very happy to find this. Geoffrey was kind enough to hang it for me right away.
We tried out some smaller fabric stores and also visited the big 5 story one again.  I found some flannel and other fabric for my next baby quilt and a few others that I had to have a meter or so of.  I'm dangerous in a fabric stores.

And then we visited a candy factory/store. They made all sorts of Turkish Delight and other candies there. The shop owner spoke very good English and kept forcing samples on us.

We all bought a box of various treats to bring home and share. I even bought a block of this fudge looking substance that was made from sweetened Tahini  - sesame seed butter.  Its called halva and both my mom and husband remembered buying this in the states as a child. I had never tasted it before but thought it was really good.

The best treasure in the candy store was this great old photo we found framed in the back. Every business you go into will have a picture of Ataturk hanging somewhere but this was a picture we had never seen.
The seated woman is his mother.  I think she looks like a queen.

We made it back to base safely, in time for the bus, and with a whole new strain of bacteria colonizing in our gut. All in all - a successful outing!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it is amazing what one will try in a foreign country when they are sharing their delicacies with you. I'm glad you are adventurous as you would miss out on a lot while living in another culture.