>The First Day of my Holiday

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Bodrum, Turkey
I got here yesterday and found the house my husband has rented for us to be delightful. It is a simple house in a typical holiday community.  We are all the way up a steep hill and due to this circumstance, in possession of an amazing panorama.  The best feature of the house is its balcony that completely wraps around one side of the building.  There are couches and chairs strewn around it in order to accommodate our  big family; everyone is afforded a seat with a magnificent view.

As soon as I arrived, I unpacked my pastels, drawing paper and pencils and placed them all in a corner of the balcony, along with my books; this is where I plan to live from this day forward.  Our nephew is visiting and all the occupants of our temporary home seem to have settled in quite contently.  I take my place amongst them right away to have the afternoon ritual of ‘five o’clock tea.’  From this point on, it’s as if I’ve been here from the very beginning. 

First thing we do upon waking up this morning is to go for a swim.  The water is cold but after a couple of strokes I don’t feel anything; I am in heaven.  Everything else after that is a typical morning until we go to the bazaar in Turgutreis.  Each town has a day when a bazaar is setup for the local farmers to bring in their crops and sell them to the townspeople and visiting tourists.   I love these bazaars (‘pazar’ in Turkish) since it’s the best place to get the freshest fruits and vegetables. I go a little crazy with the vegetables and watermelon  (we bought 3 huge ones) and fill our trunk to the rim.  After the shopping is done, it’s time for lunch.

Last year when we were visiting the same area, my brother and sister-in-law insisted we go to eat at this restaurant in Turgutreis that only serves lunch.  It turned out to be a true gastronomical delight.  ‘Ana Ogul’ (Mom and Son) is a quaint, small restaurant that serves the best examples of Turkish home cooking.  I can not recall one dish I’ve tasted there, that wasn’t to die for.  My husband has called ahead of time and ordered ‘Manti’ (Turkish Ravioli eaten with garlic yogurt) to be made especially for us.  They don’t usually have it on the menu everyday and make it specially for you if you order it in advance.  Since I am on a gluten-free diet, unfortunately I can’t have any of the Manti and have to find something else to eat… it will be such a trial…

This is the inside of the kitchen and the lovely lady smiling is the proprietor of the establishment.  I chose an artichoke  prepared with olive oil and cooked with fresh fava beans.  I caught myself several times, sighing contently with my eyes closed.  When I asked the owner how she does it, the answer was a pleasant surprise; it turns out she has taught everything she knows to her son, Ali, and now he is the master behind those wonderful dishes.  This place is worth a detour if anyone is in the Aegean region of Anatolia.

 

We were a merry group with my mother-in-law and the kids  bantering back and forth in different languages that she frequently likes to teach them words in.  We had to hurry back home, since my niece was also in Bodrum with her husband and they were planning to come over to visit.
We came home just in time.  Entertaining is quite easy in such a relaxed atmosphere; all I had to do was cool and serve the scrumptious fruits from the bazaar.

After all the kids went down to the beach I decided to make one of my mother-in-law’s famous deserts- peach and pudding with cookies, for afternoon tea. This the world’s easiest and most delicious recipe.  I had brought sugar-free puddings from the States with me and had some great peaches from the bazaar, all I needed was some cold milk and ‘petit beure biscuits’ which are sort of similar to graham crackers.  I started out preparing two boxes of jell-o pudding but ran out right in the middle of constructing this rather large desert, so I just made one more box and continued on my way.  I will include the recipe at the end of this post.  It turned out quite fabulous and was finished within 15 minutes.  My mother-in-law was on cloud nine, since she had all her grandchildren with her.

This has been one of the most fulfilling days of my life. I have been dreaming of having a place in southern Turkey to share with family and friends, for so many years and this year it seems to have come true.  I am hoping this will be the first of many more days like this where we can cook, eat and share and create memories to last a lifetime…

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