I don’t know how else to describe it – people from other countries exemplify hospitality.
Of course we practice kindness and hospitality in America, but there is a certain manner in which people from other countries treat guests which our culture has not paralleled, at least in my experience.
We are blessed to have met and befriended one such family, a Turkish family, that conveys the meaning of friendship. I’ve constantly been in awe of the warmth and love they show us. This type of human interaction is so strong and fulfilling that I can’t help but be reminded that giving and receiving love is necessary for our contentment.
One of the ways love is conveyed is through sharing food. Though exceptionally busy, my Turkish friend will always come to my house with something in her hand. Cookies she’s baked, chocolate cakes, once even some fruit from the grocery store because she was close to my house and I asked her to stop by.
“I didn’t want to come empty-handed,” she said apologetically, acting like even this gesture was too small.
Recently she invited us to breakfast, and though I asked her all week to keep it simple, I came to her house Sunday morning to find different kinds of homemade jams and breads, olives, eggs, fruit, and a beautiful dish called menemen.
Menemen is a Turkish speciality breakfast.
Everything she served us was a delight to our senses, but this menemen dish was striking in its simplicity and flavor. Unlike Pakistani food, Turkish food isn’t heavily spiced, but flavored with herbs and light seasonings. Somehow, it comes together divinely.
I looked online and found that I’m not the only one obsessed with menemen. There are hundreds of recipes available from people like me who tried it and just couldn’t get over how delicious it was. Though there are lots of ways to prepare it, I didn’t want to stray from traditional recipe that my friend taught me, and the one I saw here, from a Turkish blogger.
Since I tasted it at her house, I’ve made it several times, once for my own family, who (of course) asked me for the recipe. It is typically eaten with turkish bread. I have paired it with acma, a Turkish-style bagel, Asiago cheese bread, and even cracked whole-wheat bread; it goes well with just about everything.
And let’s not forget (I almost did because I was too busy talking about how tasty it is), it’s very nutritious. Tomatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants such as lycopene, which has been demonstrated in many studies to play a protective role against different types of cancer. Eggs (I use pastured eggs) contain protein and a vast array of essential vitamins and minerals, including folate and iron.
Share it with your loved ones and enjoy!
Traditional Turkish Menemen - Tomato and Egg Scramble
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 green chilies slit, seeded and chopped
- 3-4 quality tomatoes chopped finely (You can use the pulse function of a food processor to do this)
- 1/4 tsp any herbs of choice such as dried thyme basil, Italian seasoning, etc.
- 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley optional
- 1-2 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- red chilli flakes to taste
Heat olive oil over low-medium heat in a non-stick pan.
Add green chillies and cook, stirring often, for about 2-3 minutes, ensuring that they preserve their color.
Add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook for 10-15 minutes, or until they lose most of their moisture.
Add salt, pepper, red chili flakes and preferred seasoning, as well as fresh parsley, if using.
Add the egg, stirring until it is just cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.
Serve with any type of bread.