|"The largest of the Prince’s Islands advanced swiftly over the sun-pricked waters. ... The air smelled of charcoal and roasted meat where the kebab vendors had set up their braziers in the shade." (Photo -- my 1990 visit, text -- An Evil Eye, p. 17)|
Yashim loves to cook and eat, and all of the books in Goodwin's series contain a wide variety of food descriptions, as well as plenty of background in the exciting city and its markets. His friend George the vegetable seller doesn't play as large a role as in earlier books, but he's there too: "High summer vegetables glutted the market. Every stall was piled with pyramids of glossy eggplants, both the purple and the white; sacks of spinach, green onions, fresh beans of every shape and color, popped from their skins. Everyone sold tomatoes, even George— who made a pyramid of fruit that resembled purplish turbans." (p. 115).
Throughout the book, Yashim purchases food and there are long descriptions of how, exactly, he cooks each dish; I've decided to concentrate on the other material, not to quote these near-recipes for dishes like fish stew, lentil soup, and various fish preparations. The streets are full of vendors as in the following passage and the photo from our 1990 visit:
|A vendor's cart with simits, a type of hard roll.|
"Crowds thronged the shoreline on the Pera side, and spilled through the gates that opened in Istanbul’s Byzantine walls, their appetite whetted by the scent of roasted chestnuts and corncobs grilling on little fires. A man with long mustaches raked stuffed mussels over a brazier. The simit seller wandered through the crowd, with his distinctive bread rings on a tray on his head. The sherbet seller followed him, clinking two glasses between finger and thumb, and the water man, with his tank on his back. Boys darted through the crowd with roasted chickpeas in paper bags, and the sahlep men pushed their trolleys along the waterfront, offering their concoction of sweet orchid root sprinkled with ginger and cinnamon. "(p. 254).
|"The waiter set a tray before them, with the little cubes of roasted lamb,|
bread, and a gypsy salad of cheese with red onion and peppers.(p. 117).
Photo: a buffet of Turkish specialties where we ate.
|A view from the plaza at Topkapi Palace where some of the important|
events in the novel take place. We visited Topkapi only once in 1990.
|At the Grand Bazaar, where Yashim sometimes shops. On every visit,|
we have been fascinated by the markets and the sellers of so many types of goods.