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Lucinda Mosher Talks about Turkish Cuisine and Culture
Janine Aloisi: We will meet several guests of various religious backgrounds in honor of our special Asure Day episode. We begin with Lucinda Mosher, he’s and educator and inter- religious matters. Lucinda works very closely with the Turkish community and travels to Turkey. Let’s hear what Lucinda has to say about Asure Day.
Lucinda Mosher: My name is Lucinda Mosher, I’m a Christian Ethicist, and I have a doctor of Theology degree with a specialization in Christian Muslim relations. In order to get Muslim help with my doctorate I turn to friends and the help that came was from Turkish Ethicist. So my connection to Turkey is very deep in scholarly circles but also for the last maybe 6 or 7 years I’ve been working with Turkish Americans who have been interested in dialogue with Christians and just improving Americans understanding of Turkish culture which means I’ve gotten to eat a lot of Turkish Food and I do enjoy kebab, I enjoy the tea, I specially like the tea and pretty much anything that I’ve ever had in the Turkish meal I have thought was just wonderful.
We do have a few good Turkish restaurants here in New York but I’ve also had the opportunity to eat Turkish Food in Istanbul and Conia and in people’s homes in Turkey as well as in fine restaurants. Your seafood is wonderful and so all in all it’s my pleasure to be talking on a program dedicated to Turkish Cuisine. Now we’re talking specifically about Asure which is a holiday that Muslim’s celebrate but Christians at least in America do not and so part of what Turkish- Americans have been doing for the rest of us in the last number of years has been to be introduced us to this custom of sharing that I was putting.
Now the story of Noah as I’m sure you all know is a story that‘s told wonderfully in both the bible and the Koran, it’s totally differently in those two text but the basics are the same and it provokes a lot of imagination, it’s such a wonderful story that building Noah’s Ark’s for children to children to play with is something that American Christians and probably Christians in other parts of the world have done for many, many year, My children had Noah’s Ark to play toys and they like to line up the animals but my mother who’s 82 has the largest Noah’s Ark collection that anyone I know. She has some antique arks with pairs of animals, she has some contemporary one’s made of plastic for children to play with and she even has a Christmas Tree with all of the ornaments being related to the story of Noah and the Ark, it’s quite amazing.
I was in Istanbul a couple of summers ago in the part of Istanbul called Eyuck and sitting there in Eyuck drinking Tea and said you know I’ve heard all about Noah’s Pudding I have no idea what it taste like and they said oh we can get some of your right now and so I had my first taste of Noah’s Pudding in Eyuck and that was quite fun.
Last year, for Asure, the organization is called TAMAF- Turkish- American Multicultural Educational Foundation ask if I could help them bring Noah’s Pudding to some Christians and so the group we chose were those students studying to be priest in the Episcopal Church and America’s branch of the Anglican communion.
So on a Friday afternoon members of TAMAF brought probably 50 little containers of Noah’s Pudding to General Seminary and the seminarians. The students for the priesthood and their children all sat around and ate the pudding learned about the Muslim understanding of the Noah’s story shared their understandings and just had a wonderful afternoon eating Noah’s Pudding and drinking tea together. It was a great conversation and I think that sort of conversation is very helpful then I hope to be able to facilitate many more like it.
And I do think that the bringing of Noah’s pudding to people who know very little if anything about this custom is a great one as it ‘s done year after year here in New York in another city surround the United States, people will begin to expect it and will delight that it’s coming again.
And because the Muslim calendar floats through the solar year it comes at different times of the year and they will come a time when Noah’s pudding distributions and Christmas line up they will be times when it lines up with Easter, there will be times when it lines up with the important Jewish holidays.
It’s a way of building bridges through food and we know that sharing a meal together, sharing any kind of food together is a way to seal a friendship. So, I do think that the fact that we have so many Turkish Cultural organizations around America now and each of them each year during this special holiday distributes now his pudding is an important step toward developing understanding of each other the new level. Its fun, it’s tasty and it encourages us to examine our shared stories and to understand each other better and only good can come of that.