No salty cheese for you!
Tired of eating in the hotel and restaurants, today I found a grocery store. A few blocks from my hotel, I found a wonderful, one-room store that sold just the essentials: produce, meat, cheese, and staples that your great-grandmother would recognize (if she was Turkish, of course). It was heaven for me, and really reminded me of the farm market that Sara and I used to shop in Newport, RI (Sweetberry Farm ). Basically these small grocery stores have everything that a foodie needs (like 10 kinds of salt) and none of the cardboard products designed for maximum shelf-life and packed with chemical preservatives.
I walked around for a few minutes just to check it out, and then found the cheese counter. When I was here in March, I fell in love with a salty string cheese and could not get enough. I practically ran to that side of the counter. The cheese monger asked “Buyurun” which kind of means, “Can I help you?” I pointed to the cheese I wanted, and he basically freaked out. First, he offered me several other cheeses, and then eventually allowed me to try all of the other offerings, which of course I was more than game to do. Then he asked where I was from. Then he said that he was sure I would hate it, and he wanted me to happy with the cheese I ended up purchasing. Why would an American want such salty cheese? Finally, I convinced him, in Turkish, to let me try a small piece of the çeçil peyniri. I had one bite, smiled, and told the guy I really wanted to buy it. He actually frowned as he handed the package over the counter to me.
I celebrated my victory by eating way more than I should have for dinner!