Sunday, June 22, 2008

Turkish Delight, a rambly little trivia post

I cannot remember a time without Narnia.

My parents started reading the books to me before I was five
1 and read them pretty much yearly to me and my sisters2 throughout my growing up years.

One side effect of all this was a curiosity about British food
3,but most especially about Turkish Delight. I wanted to know what fabulous sweet this was that Edmund loved so much.

I pictured a number of delicacies, finally settling on something more or less like baklava--something I also didn't taste until years later.

Finally, I decided to do the sensible thing and buy some. It turned out to be harder than I expected. Most stores hadn't even heard of it. This was before the movies, mind you. It may be easier to find now. A friend eventually bought some offline, and we tried it together.

It was gooey, a bit gelatinous, very sweet, and not much else.

My sister has recently decided to skip the whole hunting bit and just make some for her students. Consequently, I've now seen at least one recipe for it, and I can tell you why: This wonder consists primarily of cornstarch and sugar with only the smallest amount of rosewater, or maybe some other flavoring, to justify its existence.

My advice? Read the books, read them often, read them out loud to your kids if you have any, watch the movies, and eat baklava.

1.Likewise with The Lord of the Rings. A good many other books also made their way in and out of yearly rotation. Does anyone wonder any more how I ended up going to grad school?
2. My brother got to hear them a few times, but by the time he came along, the evening read aloud time had pretty much been taken over by other things. He does still love to read, but he missed out on a lot coming last.
3. Sardines on toast? C. S. Lewis makes this stuff sound so good when he writes about it that I'm almost tempted to try, on the other hand, look at what happened when I tried Turkish Delight. Or, for that matter, Yorkshire pudding (a sort of giant, un-popped popover), which I made once because James Herriot spoke of it so often and so fondly. It is possible some things are better left to the imagination.

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