I spent a whole month in Turkey. From charming Istanbul, then to the mystical black sea villages, couch surfing in Goreme, meeting the most free spirited beings in coastal Antalya, visiting ancient cites sites like Ephesus (will gladly be that nerdy traveller who reads all the boards and talks to you about it over drinks later that night) to the casual flirtation with the streets of Izmir.
Sites, scenery, people aside, Turkey will always be the place where I overdosed on tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh bread and yoghurt.
'oh, these aren't great tomatoes, you'll know a real tomato as soon as you eat it Crish.' - a friend in Melbourne once told me (and I automatically stamped him 'you are so typical Melbourne, it's a little annoying at times)
But with 40 odd Turkish breakfasts under the Mediterranean sun, I have come to the conclusion that yes, there are 'tomatoes...' and 'tomatoes!'
True beauty happens when realising Turkish cuisine takes dedicated value in seasonality and local produce. Many locals will have a favourite bakery, butcher, vegetable/fruit grandpa (I sure did!), and deli. It was their way of life, and it was quite beautiful watching butchers and mothers talk with such fondness, genuine connection and warmth.
I learnt so much about food and hospitality in Turkey. So much so, that I think theres a little piece of my memory in every lunch I make. It's usually the final dusting of zesty sumac, the addition of tomatoes and cucumbers in everything, or wanting to be that Turkish aunt that just wants you to come to her house and feed you endlessly.
oh! I've completely forgotten to add... dear every kebab man in every dodgy looking alleyway, your kofte was always so amazing, I drive myself mad trying to recreate it at home.