In this Turkish Cuisine video, Rita Wade remembers Turkish sites and flavors.
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Rita Wade Remembers Turkish Sites and Flavors
Janine Aloisi: Our guest for the week is Rita Wade. She’s originally from Iowa and now resides in New York City. Rita had a fascinating time teaching English in Turkey and has a lasting impression of the incredible warmth of the Turkish People. Let’s go hear more about her journey.
Rita Wade: The reason I have become so interested in Turkey was that when I was teaching English as a volunteer at the University of Iowa, I met some Turkish Doctors who were there on an exchange. They were working at the hospital at the University of Iowa and one of them said, “You like teaching English why don’t you teach in Istanbul?” I was young adventurous. I said why not and so I applied and that was in 1992. I wrote to a few private schools in Istanbul. One of them actually said yes we are interested in you.
So I went over to teach English at a private school and I just fell in love with the country. After my experience of teaching English I taught a variety of Turks from adults to small children. I also taught that at a high school called Kabatas in Istanbul. I love it, I love the people, I love the culture although I did go back to the United States in 1993, I’ve returned many times I’ve made wonderful friends both in Istanbul and here in New York for Turkish. I’ve remained very interested in Turkish culture. I don’t know something about the people I just very warm and I’ve just purposely continued my relationship.
Well I wasn’t really sure what Turkish food was going to be like. I didn’t know I simply didn’t know, I was used to American Cuisine but I was surprised and finding that many of the dishes although they were different we’re really very appetizing to my palate the ingredients used for fresh it wasn’t so unusual, a lot of meat of course tomatoes which I love, rice. I felt actually much healthier than some of the American food that I have been used to eating.
Anymore I tried to be a light eater, I enjoyed the lentil soup, my favorite is a [Foreign Language] which I order every time I go and then also I’m especially a test whose in the winter time is most appropriate so which was an very unusual drink for me but I really loved the taste of it and the warmth that it brings.
I have tried to make Turkish food but I just don’t think—I’m not very good at it I do think it takes quite a bit of practice and to try to make it following in an American Turkish cook book with the ingredients in cups and teaspoons and there is just something I just could not duplicate the fine taste of food made by Turkish hands like us.
I’ve had quite a few friends who have never experienced Turkish culture, Turkish food so when I bring them to Turkish restaurant it is a different experience and they’re very I have to say hesitant about trying the food it shouldn’t be I describe the food as a lot using meat and it’s a lot of meat, rice and tomatoes, yogurt which is sometimes unusual and well it is unusual in American foods so people are a little hesitant then Pita bread which people know and I introduce them to the simpler dishes. I like a Donna kebabs with a little bit of spice.
So simple things and they’ve been well receive and my friends have been actually surprised but then have returned to Turkish restaurants without me unfortunately about they have because they were impressed.