With our first quarter coming to an end, my students and I realized it’s nearly time to say good bye. Nobody knows what our schedules will look like next quarter and whether I`ll be teaching any of the same students again – although, considering we have 3 more quarters to go, I might well encounter some of them again. However, the prospect of parting ways prompted my students into suggesting a class party. The word party has a more innocent meaning when applied in the context of a prep school in a conservative Turkish city – it simply means staying after classes, eating some cake and assorted snack and drinking soda. Last year, I`ve been to several of these celebrating the end of a quarter, including several impromptu gatherings with food in the middle of the day for no apparent reason.
With my students last year: they brought a cake with my name on it. Literally.
Today the students decided to make Çiğ köfte. The name of this dish translates as ‘raw meat balls’, but don’t be alarmed. Nowadays, due to health code regulations, Çiğ köfte is a vegetarian dish made with bulgur wheat, spices, olive oil and tomato paste. The grain is kneaded and made into balls. It is served with lemon wedges, pomegranate sauce, lettuce leaves and wraps. Here’s an interesting article about Çiğ köfte. The students brought all the ingredients, a special tray for kneading cig kofte, and made sure to cut up the lemons and wash the lettuce. Note that it is male students making the dish – due to a lengthy kneading (up to 2 hours if using raw meat!), it is considered to be a man’s job.
For my contribution, I made brownies – a strategic decision since this is one dessert I don’t like and therefore can be very generous about giving away and can have around without a threat to my waistline. On the downside, it was hard for me to tell it they were any good, but judging by how quickly the containers emptied out, they must have been.
There are many things I love about living in Turkey, and one of them is how much my students love taking photos, especially selfies. So a significant amount of time today was devoted to this favorite pastime – much to my delight!