Gathered together in a home on a hill overlooking the Piscataqua River in Maine, three generations of women celebrated their love of Turkish food and culture.
It felt like we were on a magic carpet ride to a culinary adventure
in an exotic land when we reunited to recreate our shared history
and love of the country and people in Eastern Turkey. The memories
were from forty years ago when we all had lived at Incirlick Air
Force Base in Adana, Turkey.
The hostess, Jan Desjardin, an accomplished gourmet cook, lives in
Florida in the winter and spends summers at her home in Maine.
Jan welcomed the travelers from Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire and a grandmother, mother, and third-generation
daughter who had traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was
an all-woman event with male family members excluded.
The guests came together because of their love of Turkey, a land
rich in history, from Julius Caesar, who famously came, saw and
conquered, to Saint Paul, who trekked the country spreading
Christianity. They also celebrated that Turkey has some of the best
authentic, fresh local cuisine they have ever tasted.
It was to be a weekend of kebabs and memories of shopping for copper
and carpets. The people of Turkey are family oriented, easy-going and
hospitable. In Turkey, there is a respect and affection within the family
from youngest to eldest. The hours we spent feasting and laughing
carried that Turkish tradition to Maine.
We entered the Desjardin home to the welcome shouts of “merhaba!”
(hello) and Turkish music blaring. The younger generation were
already dancing a Turkish folk dance. They were enthusiastic and
unselfconscious dancers, swiveling their hips and shaking shoulders.
One of the women was waving a handkerchief and leading the circle
dancers. This dance, called the halay, is seen all over the country at
by Elaine Nollet