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March 11, 2009
The air is redolent of musty walls, mixed with spices from Istanbul’s Egyptian bazaar. Here, we find huge sacks filled with turmeric, sumac, and a myriad of ground black, white, green, and red pepper. My favorite comes from the Turkish town of Urfa. Burgundy in color, this pepper has a sweet spiciness and an oily texture that dissolves on the tongue.
Next to the spice dealers, there are sweet shops: Turkish delight, baklava, and traditional ice cream, stretched and rolled like fudge but thicker.
Men walk around with Turkish sesame-covered bagels called simit stacked on their heads. These are thinner, bigger and more pretzel like (although not in shape) than the kind we’re familiar with.
I quaff a fresh pomegranate juice. Push cart dealers entice passersby with ears of corn and large dill pickles.
How do you like to spice up your life?