The food writer, Diana Henry, writes “The path of the conquering forces of Islam, as they swept their way across to North Africa and up into Spain and Sicily, is marked in citrus groves.” But did the Arabs have oranges before the Turks came to the Mediterranean from the western plains of China? I wondered as I drank gallons of fresh pressed orange juice every day. I branched out into the sweet red pomegranate juice later, but the sour and sweet taste of the Turkish oranges remained my favourite. This is something I’ve enjoyed in every country which borders on the north of the Mediterranean. In Turkey I could find a little stall in every market corner of a village.
The other wonderful thing I discovered was the gözleme (pronounced goez-li-may). I first saw it being rolled when we walked along the Ihlara valley. In a little pavilion by the side of a restaurant which sprawled along the banks of the river, two ladies were hard at work rolling out these things which are like a paratha. The ladies were busy, and did not look like they would take kindly to interruption. Talking to others I figures that the dough is unleavened, just like paratha dough, and fillings can be as varied than typical parathas.
I ate gözleme fairly often later, but every time I ate them I remembered these two ladies rolling them out like a factory. I’ve had paratha adventures in Old Delhi’s streets, where potato, spinach, and meat are common, and chocolate parathas have been invented recently. Gözleme seems to have undergone a similar evolution.