Author Shelley Workinger runs a blog that provides a unique approach to book promotion – food and the consumption thereof. My expanding waistline is evidence enough of my love of all things culinary, so I bit her hand off to get featured.
Turkish cuisine is justifiably famed as one of the world’s greatest. The Sultan’s table overflowed with extravagant bounty from the vast Ottoman domains that once stretched across three continents. The empire may be history, but food – preparing it, eating it, sharing it – is still of enormous cultural importance to all Turks regardless of status and income. So it’s small wonder the simple act of eating plays a starring role in both of my memoirs, Perking the Pansies and its sequel, Turkey Street. Here’s a soupçon…
When Liam and I first pitched our yurt in Anatolia, we bought an olive sapling in John’s memory and put it in a patio pot. It did remarkably well and bore fruit in the first year – a lean harvest but a harvest nonetheless. After we decided to wade back to Blighty, I asked Annie of Back to Bodrum fame if she would take care of John’s little twig in her Bodrum garden. Annie went one better and offered a sunny spot in the olive grove of her fabulous country pile.
From Little Acorns…
Four years on and the wedding of the year presented the perfect opportunity to check on John’s tree. Little more than a twig when it was transplanted to Annie’s field, it now stands tall as a strapping sapling, framed in chicken wire to protect it from nibbling cattle.
See the Tree How Big It’s Grown
The first snap is courtesy of Elaine Akalin.
Thank you, Teo, for planting it. You did all the sweaty work while all I did was pat it down like the Queen at an opening. And thank you, Annie, for taking such good care of it. I’m not religious at all but a part of me hopes Teo and John popped a cork and shared a bottle on the big day.
Confirmed Turkophile, Lisa Morrow, hails from Oz and first visited Turkey in 1990. A three month stay in the village of Göreme set among the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, changed the course of her life and eventually led her to settle in Turkey full time. Now based in Istanbul, Lisa writes about her observations of Turkish life in her blog and her books and I recently had the opportunity to read Lisa’s second book, ‘Exploring Turkish Landscapes, Crossing Inner Boundaries’. This is my tuppence worth.
‘Exploring Turkish Landscapes’ is a collection of essays which the author, Lisa Morrow, uses to illustrate her journey through the cultural kaleidoscope of a country she fell head over her designer heels with a quarter of a century ago. Vividly described, each essay is an evocative narrative about an aspect of contemporary Turkish life. Taken as whole, the book shines a light on the traditions and tensions of a society that is ‘less western than eastern, yet at times both and something more’, as the author herself puts it. Her observations of family life with its time-worn rituals and rigid social etiquette – both stifling and comforting at the same time – are particularly illuminating. The book confirms my own experience that it’s hard for a Turk to be different in Turkey, whatever that difference might be. The author writes about Turkey with huge affection but if I have one small niggle it’s that I wanted to learn a bit more about Lisa Morrow, the person, and how she felt about what she saw. Nevertheless, ‘Exploring Turkish Landscapes’ is a worthy companion for anyone wishing to discover the genuine article beyond the well-trodden tourist trails, bargain-bucket resorts and sanitised all-inclusives.
Check out Lisa’s blog and her books.
I noticed a little growth on my head beneath my slowly receding hairline. An ugly little lumpy bump popped up without warning. I didn’t know what it was. Best get it checked out, I thought. A childhood spent splashing around in the tropical sun fleeing leeches as an army brat and four years under Anatolian skies squashing mozzies as a lotus eater and I could well be asking for trouble. My fierce (her word) German GP didn’t know what it was either. “Best get it checked out,” she barked and sent me off to a dermatologist. He didn’t know what it was. “Best get it sliced off,” he said. Four blue stitches, a neat little scar and a lab report later, it was just a wart. Not the viral kind of my carefree childhood days but the worry warts of my impending dotage. Wisdom warts Frau Doktor calls them. Witch’s warts I call them. I’ve already got a thicket sprouting from my nose, silver short and curlies and unregulated wind. What next? Gout?
Time to take down the Anatolian display and pack away the posters. The Pride Without Prejudice Show is done and dusted for another year and what a successful run its been. If you’d told me back in the day when I ebbed and flowed along the nose-to-nipple Victoria Line that, a few years on, I’d be showcasing a book I’d written at a bone fide exhibition I would have told you to where to get off (at the next stop and mind the gap). Did I sell any books from it? Your guess is as good as mine. At the very same time I was mounting the posters, I was featured on WordPress’ Blogger Profile site which has over 10 million subscribers. As soon as their interview was published, it all went a bit crazy for a while. If I did flog a few copies off as a result of the show it was icing on the cake. Will I exhibit again next year with the Sisterhood? Wild goats won’t keep me away.
For the month of August only, I’m flogging off the ‘Best of Perking the Pansies’ from the Turkish Years at the knock down price of a quid ($1.54) per episode on Amazon (Kindle version). That’s just 100 pennies for Turkey, the Raw Guide (which includes invaluable advice about relocating to Turkey assuming anyone wants to these days) and 100 pennies for Turkey, Surviving the Expats (which includes my Anatolian must sees). Never say I’m not a generous soul.
If this special offer takes your fancy, click here for more information
Once upon a time in another life, this seasoned old cynic met and fell for a handsome young man with razor-sharp wit and a glorious smile. His name was John. We collided in a long-gone dive in Earls Court called the Copacabana. He stayed the night and never left. Eight years in to our fine romance John fell ill, quite suddenly. Within just six weeks he was dead. He died in my arms. It was quite a Hollywood moment but not one I care to reprise. That was 10 years ago today. Even though I’ve been given a second time around, I still miss him.
John liked a slice of Turkey. We’d visited many times. When Liam and I first pitched our yurt in Anatolia, we bought an olive sapling in John’s memory and put it in a patio pot. It did remarkably well and bore fruit in the first year – a lean harvest but a harvest nonetheless. After we decided to wade back to Blighty, I asked Annie of Back to Bodrum fame if she would take care of John’s little twig in her Bodrum garden. Annie went one better and offered a sunny spot in the olive grove of her fabulous country pile.
My old mucky mucker, Ian, and his much younger squeeze, Matt, were our final gentlemen callers in old Bodrum Town. Back in the day, John, Ian and I had been the three muskequeers blazing a gay trail and frightening the locals from Ephesus to Antalya. Annie invited the lot of us out to her rural idyll for a spot of lunch and bit of aboriculture. She knows quite a lot about both. A gorgeous sunny afternoon of feasting, wine and gay-boy banter was polished off with a tree-planting flourish. Notice me proudly holding the big spade. Don’t be fooled. Annie’s husband did all the hard graft. All I did was plop the tree into the hole and pat it down like the Queen at an opening.
Now there is a little corner of Turkey that is forever John.
Thank you, Annie.