A fıstıklı bromance: On overcoming culture-based food biases


Karagöz recently attempted to stir the pot with me, by pointing out that M. is heavily involved in a “bromance” with another Turkish-American guy.  I guess Karagöz is a little homophobic, but I’m not really clear on that.  Maybe Karagöz is just acculturating to the worst of American norms.  I’m all for bromances, they are a lovely thing.  Ain’t no nicer thing than seeing bromance buddies walking down Istiklal Caddesi hand in hand or arm in arm, after all.  As I make this point, I can see Yehuda Rebbe and Hacivad Bey nodding at me in approval, as they walk arm in arm back to the dining room to finish a debate on some aspect of Jewish-Islamic relations.

But back to this bromance, which is taking place on American turf – and it is distinctly fıstıklı…the Turkish word for “nutty” in the best possible sense.  Finding this particular Turkish-American friend and his partner has made for an absolutely wonderful addition to our life.

M. and S., both somewhat eccentric artists, can relate to one another on distinctly Turkish-American matters among many other things.  Meanwhile, S.’s partner and I can also relate on matters unique to being the American in a Turkish-American relationship…among many other things.

It’s nutty and funny and special, this couple friendship is, and we love it that way.

But back to nuts – which have made another appearance in our cross-cultural marital road trip as of late.  This most recent episode with nuts relates to the fact that out of the clear blue yonder, M. has become obsessed with peanut butter.

This may sound like no great revelation, but you must realize that after years of listening to M. decrying “it” as “food?” fit only for the lowliest of beasts, I’m pretty shocked.

Really, in the 11 years I have known him, I have never heard him do less than protest against the lowly peanut with vim and vigor – usually in a heated tone with pointing fingers all akimbo.

“Turks,” he says loudly, “DO NOT eat or like peanut butter!”

Now, if you know M., you will know that he rants and rails about MANY things.  Some would argue that’s just the Turkish body language/voice volume, and I might agree) – but really – peanut butter is UP THERE in the top three of “bad things to rant and rail about.”  It could be worse, I know.

And that’s where the bromance comes into the picture.  All it took was S. showing up to a dinner party with his favorite Haagen Daaz chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, and the battle against peanut butter was magically over.  No more protests over the presence of peanut butter on the shopping list – and even an occasional errant spoonful of the stuff making way into the mouth of the Turkish part of this couple!

Now, M. just says “I never knew it could be so good!”  And that’s all she wrote on peanut butter.

Let’s not even get into kokorecç*, ok? Karagöz promises that he will indeed get into it.  Let’s hope that’s a few days away, eh?

*Kokorecç, (“koh-kohr-etch”) sounds all to similar to cockroach…but it is actually intestines grilled on a spit, sliced off en masse and slammed in between two pieces of bread. It is street food extraordinaire. M claims that it “tastes better” if the intestines are, ahem, “not completely clean.”

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11 Responses to A fıstıklı bromance: On overcoming culture-based food biases

  1. Love the vibrant good humor in this post, and the sense that you have been enjoying life in lovely ways lately . . .

  2. Alan says:

    ‘Turks do not eat peanut butter’! M should shop down this way. J and I are not mad about the stuff but it is a useful thing to have at the back of the cupboard when a quick bit of bread and something is in order. You go to the supermarket and the shelves are full to bursting with hazelnut spreads of every description. There is seldom any peanut butter but when it is there you’d best be stocking up on the stuff because 15 minutes later it will all have been snaffled – and not by foreigners either. This accounts for the five or more jars you see on our shelves at home – it’s not that we love the stuff it’s because the ‘End of Days’ is coming and we will need the odd quick snack every now and again.

  3. I’ve been reading your blog for some time and every time I giggle. I love your sense of humour.
    For some reason, I’m past peanut butter, most probably because of GMO scare, but I eat peanuts sometimes at parties pretending to be unconscious.
    Having said that, peanut butter is so useful when you want to whip up quick satay sauce! Cheers!

  4. My M is exactly the same. Can’t fathom the stuff, while I’m averaging a jar a week. Maybe time to bust out the Haagen Daaz.

  5. lizcameron says:

    It could work! Glad to hear I am not alone – or rather – WAS alone! 🙂

  6. lizcameron says:

    Thank you so much for your kind comments!!! They are much appreciated! LOL about eating peanuts at parties pretending to be unconscious! 🙂 I hear you on satay sauce!

  7. lizcameron says:

    How interesting that there are some other peanut butter lovers in Okcular! I’ll have to tell him and knock him off of his assumption-rocker re: Turks not liking it! Agreed on the utility of peanut butter for a good, quick snack.

  8. lizcameron says:

    Thank you so much, Nancy, for your comment. Life has been steady for a couple of months now, although the transition back to work has been difficult. The puppets just decided to start showing up in my thoughts again, so I let them out!

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