The taste of initiation
At my women-only gym, the middle-aged Turkish women I do crunches with talk about pastries. It reminds me of my first summer in Turkey, where instead of crunches, my neighbors would knit or crochet in our garden while talking about baked goods.
Is there no bad time or place to talk about pastries?
My vocabulary has become peppered with the Turkish versions of pastry dough (börek
), cake (pasta
), and salty or sweet cookies (tuzlu
, respectively). Baked sesame seed rings (sımıt
) are a daily part of our life.
Eat, and then work it off. Bonding in the form of locker-room chat. On the aerobic floor, commiseration over leg lifts and latent stomach muscles. Chats about tattoos, taboos, and domestic routines.
Food was my initiation into Turkey – hours in my mother-in-law’s kitchen taught me the aromas and textures that filled the Turkish table – but my gym in Turkey is a social sphere of my own choosing.
What’s one surprising place you go that makes you feel at home?