Yet again, Slowly-by-slowly has been off the grid with major health problems with pain that has made it hard to read, write or do much of anything. Without wallowing in self pity too much, I must say that my life is still somewhat described by the Turkish word keşmekeş. You can read a little more about that by clicking here. Yesterday, my doctor talked to me about the concept of “radical acceptance” – So here I am!
…And so it was with great jubilation a few months ago that I opened a large heavy box sent to me by my family in the Southwest – to find about 25 lemons! In the United States we have a saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! What better antidote for keşmekeş? Given the keşkemeş that’s rolling in our beloved Turkey right now, may this be a diversion. I’ll do my best to post on that tomorrow as I’m so tired of being tired, done with isolating myself and pained of being pained as I wait for a big & unexpected surgery! No whingeing allowed, as the Brits might say!
So, back to the limonlar, as trite as this saying may be, and it has become an overused phrase, seeing the lemons tumble out across my dining room table sure gave me a giggle (or three). And my family knows that I am always up for a cooking challenge. One of my major coping mechanisms is to cook like a whirling dervish (when İ can manage it, which has not been for months) as my husband puts it. And in February, with these lemons rolling around on my table I had the perfect opportunity to go the limon crazy!
But I was not the only one to go limon crazy…Karagöz, well, he went wild as well. Why, you may ask, would Karagöz go wild at a box of lemons? Well, in traditional versions of the Karagöz Oyunlari, as some of you may know, there is a longstanding feud between Karagöz and Hacivad – about anything and everything.
In my own world of Karagöz puppetry, these two generally steer clear of any puppet battles (you can read about some of my puppet battles by clicking here). But they do erupt once in a while. And these lemons were the start of it all….as the tension between Karagöz the oppositional trickster and Hacivad Bey the learned Sufi elder had been brewing for some time (from opposite ends of the house, usually)…it was ready to rock. And it started like this:
Karagöz began the banter, saying “finally, something fun to play with – let’s have a futbol match” while kicking the lemons around the table, some of which dropped on the floor and got bruised. Our dog came up and sniffed them before determining that they were not good to eat.
Hacivad Bey entered the room with a gallant leap down the stairs “Stop ruining these regal citrus fruits – we must put them to good use!” careening around the table after the futbol-mad Karagöz, Hacivad Bey proclaimed “I will be a human shield for these, our fruity brethren and sistren!”
Karagöz hooted – “Oh – you old softy – what antiquated language you are using – why do you care a whit about lemons?” And before I could say a word, Hacivad Bey was covered in a pile of lemons, with only his legs showing, if you really looked hard. Meanwhile, Karagöz did a headstand on top of the pile.
Soon, the rest of the puppets ensnared Karagöz and rescued Hacivad Bey – only to engage in a debate about what to do with the lemons.
10 lemons went to a lemon souffle (see recipe here)
5 lemons went to a lemon glaze for lemon zest muffins (see recipe here)
5 lemons went to lemon-almond shortbread cookies with lemon glaze (see recipe here)
5 lemons were squeezed into ice cube trays for use throughout the rest of the winter season
And then, all were full of limon goodness, and fell asleep in a happy pile.
So thank you once again, family, for sending me this magic box of sunny yellow happiness! I know that it got me through some of the worst of my keşmekeş!