Breakfast is always a bone of contention in our house. I myself, after many years of being in a career woman and leaving early for work, favour the goodness that comes out of a packet with a bit of fruit thrown in. Not only is it healthy but its quick, leaves not much washing up and gets you out the door faster. Couple this with the fact that I am not very cheery in the mornings (bit of an understatement, try rabid tiger!), I praise the Gods of Kellogg and their inventions.
Murat on the other hand, would like the kind of wife that gets up half an hour before him and makes a full on Turkish Breakfast. I keep telling him he should have married someone else.
As much as I love a Turkish breakfast, I don’t like the clearing up that goes with it, nor am I keen to put on a couple of stone.
On the occasion that I am the good Turkish wife, he moans that its not the same. He doesn’t mean the food but the atmosphere. As its a quiet affair with just the two of us, the only sound to be heard is the scraping of forks on plates and the drone of the Turkish News from the telly.
More often than not, I’ll eat my cereal and Mu will nip to the local Turkish restaurant or buy some borek on the way to the office.
Sometimes, like this morning, we will ring my mother in law Dursun and tell her we are coming for breakfast. I then have to do a bit of combo dressing which means wearing: a) something that shows no cleavage, tops of arms and any leg above the ankle, b) suitable for wearing for the rest of the day and c) comfortable and practical for sitting on the floor in without rising, falling down or cutting me in half! It’s not an easy task.
A few years ago I took to leaving a pair of leggings and thin long sleeved tunic in the car, making life a lot easier. After all, no one in the village would bat an eyelid at any combination of clothes as long as they serve their ‘cover up’ purpose and, dressing like you are colour blind is absolutely no problem either.
When we arrive at the village, Murats sister is always working away in the kitchen, the tablecloth is always laid on the floor, the brothers are yawning and slowly waking and Dursun is on her way back from the village bakery with hot fresh bread under her arm.
We sit, cross legged in a circle, feet tucked under the tablecloth while we spear warmed goats cheese and home preserved olives with our small forks, spread mashed aubergines onto hot bread before rolling it up and dipping it in warm tomato sauce, or, spoon Nenes (Grandma) village eggs straight into our mouths. All of this takes place amongst lively chatter, laughter and plenty of ‘oyleme’s’ as the family updates are dispersed and discussed around the circle.
For some reason, on those mornings, my mood is not coloured an early morning black but a pleasant pinkish hue. Something about the village and the people in it lifts my spirits and I have learned to understand exactly what it is that Murat finds wanting in our table for two.
The sharing of food is one of lifes greatest pastimes, perhaps us cereal eaters should slow down more often and take the time to enjoy it.