In Search of Lost Ekmek Kadayıfı
I had to convince my grandma about the chickens. Since nothing could have convinced her better than a piece of genuine ekmek kadayıfı from Afyon, I made my way to Afyon, which is God’s idea of a horribly half-baked joke as a city. If it wasn’t for this special desert and their famous spicy Turkish sausages, Afyoners themselves would have probably decided years ago to lock up the whole city and leave it at once without even taking their belongings. Did I tell you that Afyon means opium in Turkish? Well, I now did!
In Afyon, I was welcomed by a bullying kind of indifference. My first contact with the owner of a small shop in the outskirts of the city almost ended up with a disaster. I went into the shop meekly to buy water, chewing gum and cigarettes. He didn’t greet me, he didn’t open his mouth, he didn’t even acknowledge me. After a brief, yet virulent pause, I told him what I had wanted as if this was going to gravely hurt him. And it did. It hurt him. He asked me where I was from. I answered him. He then asked fretfully: “What are you gonna do with the chewing gum?” After pondering about the question at great length, I replied with the most obedient of the manners: “I was planning to chew it.” “Yeah, because it is a chewing gum, right?” he said and started laughing hysterically.
Despite this ominous sign, I was still insanely audacious to venture into the city in my enthusiastic quest to find that ekmek kadayıfı, which would appease my grandmother like no other painkiller or sedative on this earth would do. I was feeling like Chamberlain on the plane to Munich. As I was aimlessly wandering around the empty streets of old town, I was trying hard to dig out that memory of our family trip to Afyon many years ago, about whose purpose I was years later informed by my aunt during one of her furious fits, through which she used to blame my father for persuading their mother to sell that prized sunflower field and lend the money to my father. So yes, it was obvious that the very trip my father sold us as a quality family time together was a concealed attempt to find the best ekmek kadayıfı in Afyon, so that he would have persuaded my grandmother to sell the land and give the money to him, which she did after all. My God, that was really some ekmek kadayıfı though. I don’t know whether he was lucky or he had one of his murky connections in Afyon but he had managed to find the best.
To be continued sort of limbo jazz…