A House is Not a Home…

Until you figure out how to use the stove.  What is not straight-forward is how much propane remains in the tank. The flame sort of sputtered and I hoped I’d be able to finish cooking.  We’ve got to “speak” with Doḡan, the kapıcı (building superintendent) who is a lovely man, to know how to gauge the tank and get it filled when necessary.  He laughed with me when I wrote a sentence using Google Translate about transferring the electricity account to our name, but it got the job done.

Cabbages on steroids.

Cabbages on steroids.


A friend online mentioned cabbage soup, and the cabbages I’ve seen here popped into my head. It was raw and gray today, and I’m sick with a cold, so wanted the comfort of homemade soup.  I went to the store and crafted a cabbage soup.  We have at least another month to go before our shipment from California will deliver our big stock pot, knives, ladles, and other things that will give us a functional kitchen.  Right now we have a few kitchen furnishings to get by— pressing every piece into creative use as circumstance requires.  We’ve been using our glass food storage containers for soup/cereal bowls.  It works, but sets a weird table.


Easily 3x the size of California green cabbages.

Easily 3x the size of California green cabbages.

The scale and embellishment of our apartment and the furniture left here by the owner gives the place a bit of an Old (Europe) World feel.  Our matched paper towel placemats and napkins contemporize the formal dining table.


We might grow very fond of these extremely comfortable dining chairs.

We might grow very fond of these extremely comfortable dining chairs.

Composing my soup as I shopped, I bought the cabbage, potatoes, canned tomatoes and beans, eggplant, onions, and garlic.  This, however, was not going to interest Jim.  I’d had a sausage/cheese tost (like a grilled sandwich) for breakfast yesterday that I’d enjoyed.  So, I bought a packaged sausage from the meat section, having no idea what it would taste like, but deducing it was 100% beef.  I shopped at Migros, a Turkish grocery chain now owned by international private equity.  Their fresh spinach and other greens were unappetizing, so my soup is of limited hue (and corresponding nutrients).

Our pots look different here, but these actually cook well, as do the very hot burners.

Our pots look different here, but these actually cook well, as do the very hot burners.

I sautéed all ingredients, using some fresh tomatoes and carrots we had in the refrigerator, and ignored the beans I’d bought. Spreading it between two of our four pans, I added some dried herbs, and then my newest favorite replacement for Balsamic vinegar, Nar Ekşili sos – a sweet/sour pomegranate sauce.  At the end I added a little water and brought it to a boil, turning it into a stew.  The sausage is flavorful and quite spicy, while the cabbage and carrots retain crunch.  It was a healthy cold weather meal that inaugurated our kitchen.

Kadiköy çarşı is nearby everyday...I need to make its acquaintance.

Kadiköy çarşı is nearby everyday…I need to make its acquaintance.

I’m going to back-burner Migros. It is easy to fall into one of their many stores and I’ve been lazy. Shopping at the wrong place is a poor excuse to leave green out of my soup. It is time to familiarize myself with the everyday Kadiköy çarşı, and visit the Salı Pazarı (Tuesday market).  Within easy walking distance is magnificent food – no more Migros, except for whatever they do best.  I feel the same way about IKEA and Starbucks.

Old time candy shop.

Old time candy shop.

Many young Türks like the western stores; they are global and seem modern. They do offer a different experience and aesthetic.  IKEA products, for example, are dissimilar to those offered in Turkish stores.  American expats have told me they also like IKEA because it is cheap and familiar. We are looking for a solution for our guest room, liking the space usage of a sofa-bed, but wanting something comfortable for our friends.  IKEA seemed to have a good option, although not cheap, but it was unacceptably difficult to purchase because of the way they do business.  “Good, Cheap, Fast – Pick Two” is one way I judge value.  IKEA is 0 for 3 so far.  TepeHome our Turkish find continues to be 3 for 3 (see https://2istanbul.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/of-the-season-shopping-part-1/ ), but a limited group of their products suit our taste.  We’ve about run the gamut of their offerings.  One of my friends hates the dishes we chose (https://2istanbul.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/shopping-for-basics-in-istanbul-part-2/ ), but she hasn’t seen how we are integrating it.  When she does see our place, she’ll understand, and we are liking them as we use them.

The Turkish friends who visited our temporary place in Cihangir which, like many tourist holiday apartments, was furnished broadly with IKEA products commented that the place looked very contemporary.  White on white on white is very popular here, at IKEA and in Turkish stores.  White isn’t our “color”.

I'd rather go Turkish!

I’d rather go Turkish!

Rather than continuing to meet people at Starbucks, I’m going to see what Kahve Dünyası (translation Coffee World) is like.  It’s a Turkish chain with many locations and if they’ve got good filtre kahve, that’s going to become my meeting place.  I’ll report back.




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