Living overseas has its challenges and its benefits. One of my favorite things though, has been the ability to learn how to truly make everything myself. This challenge has brought out my inner Betty-Crocker-Wannabe self.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to find things to substitute as ingredients are fairly different here, but you can almost always find something that will replace, if not improve a recipe or dish.
I believe it was week 2 of living here, and I was staying with a family here. We were hanging out in their living room one evening when Jennie turned to me and said, “I just got the biggest craving for egg salad!” then it hit me also… “Me too!! They sell that here?!” She began to laugh and said, “No…we make it.”
“Oh…I knew that….” I pretended…
Anyway, long story short, we made a batch and enjoyed the fruits of our labor that night while watching a movie…
It’s gotten me thinking more creatively about how to recreate favorite dishes and discover new ones. Not only is it more satisfying to live this way, it is so much healthier! I am amazed by the difference in foods here, so many less preservatives and additives…more simple, real food.
That all being said, I LOVE fall, and all the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, spiced-everything inspired dishes and deserts that come with it. So yesterday, Jennie and I got together and baked the most delicious Pumpkin Spice Bread I have had in my life; No shortcuts; maybe that’s why it tastes so good. You can’t but pumpkin puree, or canned pumpkin…you buy a pumpkin and go through a long process to get it to that state…you can’t buy “pumpkin spice”, so you go to a spice market and buy cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, grind them up and mix them for your own custom spice.
It took us a couple of hours but the kitchen smelled incredible as we ground all of the spices and prepared the batter. The final product was even better than expected and we had so much fun baking it together!
Another cool thing about the culture here is the hospitality. I am finding that apartment buildings are like mini villages. Everyone knows each other, keeps tabs on each other, and brings each other gifts and food when they have extra of something. So last night, we made 3 giant pumpkin loaves and divided them up so we could share with a few neighbors in the building. It was so fun to see their pleased reactions to us (the foreigners) bringing food! I think that was a little unexpected for them, but they enjoyed it and we were very proud of ourselves!
The Final, Delicious Product;
Here’s the Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe!
I thought it would be fun to dedicate some posts to these types of experiences, the DIY in Turkey lifestyle…I’m sure there are many more learning experiences coming!