Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some of you may remember growing up in the 70s, when the gas crisis was in full swing and the US was in the middle of a recession. As one of three kids being raised by a single mom, we were not in the practice of going out to dinner a lot. We would beg to go to McDonald's or Burger King, but mom would say "Good news! We ARE having hamburgers. I made them." They, of course, were never the same. Who wants a nice, fresh, juicy, thick burger when we could've had the thin, formerly frozen fried patty slathered with freeze-dried onions that all our friends were eating?! The worst was when the store was out of hamburger rolls (or maybe my mom just didn't buy them). A burger between two slices of bread. Mmmm, mmmm.

I digress. I had this little flashback tonight while trying to recreate taco seasoning. Matt's away, and I was trying to decide what to make for dinner for me and the kids. I had leftover chicken in the fridge, and avacados were a)available and b)ripe. I decided to make tacos. Amazingly, the El Paso taco kit can be found in a small nearby little market that specializes in overpriced exported foodstuffs. Course, the El Paso kit costs 15 YTL (about $11), and probably expired in 2005.

So I figure, How hard can taco seasoning be? It's got to be chili powder, onion, cumin, paprika, etc. So I google "homemade taco seasoning" and on thriftymom.com or some similar web site, find a recipe. I doctor it up, substituting here and there as you do. Mix with some water, the leftover chicken, substitute lavas (a tortilla-like flatbread) for taco shells, cube the faux cheddar cheese slices, cut up the other required condiments and serve with a smile.

One of the benefits of living overseas, despite the encroachment of western franchises such as McDonald's and KFC, is that some of this "American" food is still new to the kids. Having never been exposed to Taco Bell or even the El Paso of my childhood, Mom's Homemade Turkish Tacos were a huge success.

And, mom, I do prefer the homemade burger these days. Just make sure you have the seeded buns.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

First, to add to the last post. Here's a photo of the cheese toast I was raving about.

June 1 - my own little official summer start date. June, July, August - to me, all summer, all the time. I have moved squarely into "if you didn't swim in the pool, you need a bath" and it's antithesis "If you've been in the pool for more than 1/2 an hour, all that chlorine will kill whatever germs are on you. No bath tonight."

In the spirit of the old Family Circus cartoons that appeared in every American newspaper (sorry friends from other lands), I am turning this post over to the younger Eliot generation. What follows is a story by Darcy, written after a sudden burst of inspiration while enjoying a long soak in the tub... (please excuse any unintentional stereotyping)

Hostage for Carpets

Chapter 1

It was a dark, gloomy night. The power had gone out but Darcy was used to it because were she lived there were always thunderstorms. She heard weird noises; she thought “Oh it’s just the wind, nothing to worry about.”

But then she heard someone whisper “I’ve got her, go get the other three” in a French accent. Darcy was scared so she shouted, “MOM!! WERE ARE YOU?” but there was no answer, then the French accent said, “There’s no point in calling to her or the rest of your family.” Darcy thought “Why does that voice sound so familiar?” Then she realized it was Mehmet the carpet seller.

“Why are you holding me and my family hostage?” Darcy asked, “Because your mother and father wouldn’t buy one of my carpets.” He answered back. “But there’s no point holding us hostage because somebody will find out.” She explained.

Chapter 2

Darcy knew Mehmet was greedy because she went to his store when she and her family were on holiday in Cappadocia and hated his carpets. She thought quickly and came up with a plan to trick him. Darcy said, “Me and my family will buy a carpet in Cappadocia if you let us go.” “Oh, deal.” He thought he they were going to come and buy a carpet at his store. He and Darcy shook hands and he let them go.

Over the weekend Darcy’s family flew to Cappadocia and bought a carpet from Ruth and Faruks store, they thought it would look good in their house. Later that afternoon they went to Mehmets store and told him, “There, we bought a carpet in Cappadocia.” “But you didn’t buy one from my store.” He wailed, he was taken aback. “Yeah , but our deal was we’d buy one in Cappadocia...not at your store.” Darcy said with a smile. “You think you’re all that but you’re not Darcy Eliot!” Mehmet yelled as the happy family walked out the door.