Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Food that shouts out loud

My husband and I were in Turkey in November.  Sailing. Sightseeing. Sharing funtimes with good friends.The air was fresh and the sun was warm. We travelled a lot - between Fethiye and Istanbul, and then North to Ephesus and Kusadasi - from where we sailed with friends across to Greece and back.

Turkey is a country of such contrast and of such colour. Street sellers stand in the hot heat of the day, roasting chestnuts and sweet corn. They wear jackets and hats to keep out the chill of a day that seems like summer to us. 

Fishermen fish, squeezed together like sardines along the Galati bridge. From dusk to dawn. From dawn to dusk. Mackerel filled buckets. Rotunded wives, and daughters and sons, deftly fillet the catch, tossing the innards back into the Bosphorus below. Beneath the bridge, an under - bridge if you will, a walkway of seafood restaurants and cafes and bargaining and haggling as the freshly filleted fish from above are flash fried below on giant stainless steel barbeques that spit sparks and coal. Eaten within seconds of having been caught.

I watch with fascination. I love the drama of it all. And the simplicity of it all. I love that the food seems to shout out loud. Look at me. This is how it should be. The ultimate in slow food. The ultimate in fast food. But without the stranglehold of rules and regulations demanding traceability and temperature checks.

It is sad that here, back home, we have become so sanitised in our approach to food and to cooking that I sometimes feel like we have stripped out all of the colour that makes it so interesting. I realised, as I walked the back streets of Istanbul, that it is the colour and the accents that bring food to life.

And it reinforced my own thinking that food, regardless of occassion or location, or rules or regulations, should nevertheless shout out loud. Be bold. Be larger than the limitations imposed by a body on high determined to strip the very soul and the very heart out of the food that we eat..

Anyway. That's my kind of  wedding food