CGM: Cross Cultural Minis

May 9, 2022  |  Mark Burns

A sleepy family arrived to eat and was greeted by Leyla with a warm, “Hoş geldiniz” (welcome)! The father had heard about the great kahvaltı (breakfast) at the caves from a neighbor. As the family of four took their seats around the folding table, Leyla asked if they would like çay or kahve (tea or coffee). The mother quickly answered, “açık olsun” (light tea) for the children – Her son was only 8 and her daughter only 5, so she didn’t want them too hyper because of the caffeine. The mother and father would have tea as well. 

Almost as soon as they sat down and ordered tea, the kids were up, running up and down the cobblestone path to the caves. Leyla returned quickly with the four teas and the father took a sip. The tea was hot enough to scald his lips and tongue, but after decades of drinking over ten glasses of tea a day, the father had calluses built up so he was unburned. As the mother and father drank their tea, you could see them relax and reconnect after a busy work week. 

Leyla returned again with a tray. She placed little glass dishes on the table each filled with a different treat: strawberry jam, orange jam, fig jam, honeycomb, and butter; white goat cheese, cow cheese, aged cow cheese, braided cheese, and cherry peppers filled with cream cheese; cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, green olives, and three different deli meats. Before going back for more, Leyla asked how they would like their eggs. They answered, “az pişmiş” (over easy). She left and then returned with a basket of bread. There were slices of wheat bread, white bread, pieces of a bagel-like bread with sesame seeds all over, and other traditional savory pastries. 

Without needing to be told, the son and daughter returned and joined their parents eating. Everyone reached across one another getting a sample of each delicious morsel. Combining cucumbers and cheese or alternating between a slice of bread with butter and honey and then a buttery savory pastry with a tangy green olive, each person was silently enjoying the spread. Just when it seemed like the feeding frenzy was over, Leyla returned with four individual copper pans. Inside each one was two eggs and slices of spicy sausage. The father took the last slice of wheat bread, asked Leyla for more, and then dipped the bread into the runny yolk of his eggs. They continued to eat. Every once in a while, someone would growl from being full but it was impossible to stop – the food was so good! Leyla was back again with a stacked double teapot where she refilled everyone’s glasses starting with tea concentrate from the smaller top pot and then brimming the glasses from the larger pot with hot water. 

With everyone full and satisfied, the family lingered for a while. The kids got up again and ran around. The kahvaltı was even better than what the neighbor told them. They would be back again next Saturday.

Turkish hospitality is exemplary! The variety of foods shows an appreciation of God’s creation. Praise God for Turk’s demonstration of hospitality. Praise God for the richness and variety of His creation that is reflected in a breakfast meal in Turkey.