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Laura’s Review: Turkish Spinach with Eggs

January 26, 2011

I wanted to make the Yumurtalı Ispanak (Turkish Spinach with Eggs) recipe I posted, so I stopped at the 2nd closest grocery store down the street to buy spinach, and this happened:

Me: “Ispanak var mı?” (Is there any spinach?)

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish.” (???)

Me: “Bu ne?” (What’s this?), pointing to a leafy green that doesn’t really look like spinach and does not have the word for spinach, ispanak, anywhere near it.

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish.” (???)

Me: (smiles apologetically) Türkcem çok az. (My Turkish is very little.)

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish.” (???)

Me: Anlamadım. (I don’t understand.)

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish.” (???)

Me: (smiling apologetically again) Anlamadım. (I don’t understand.)

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish turkish.” (???)

Me: (nods head, pokes leafy greens)

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish  turkish.  Turkish  turkish  turkish. Turkish  turkish  turkish  turkish  turkish. Nerelisiniz?” (????. ????. ??????. Where are you from?)

Me: America.

Produce guy: “Turkish turkish turkish turkish  turkish.  Turkish  turkish  turkish. Turkish  turkish  turkish  turkish  turkish.” (????. ????. ??????.)

I won’t bore you with the rest of our conversation, but it was very one-sided. I believe I tried to answer the question of how long I’d been there in weeks because I didn’t know the word for months, and after he said something asking a university name, I figured he was asking if I worked for one of the unis, so I told him my uni name and “hoca” (ho-ja = teacher). And then I stuffed a bunch of greens in my plastic bag and had him weigh it and slap a sticker on it. I went around buying a few more things, and then when I was in the checkout line the produce guy ran over to tell me “Turkish turkish turkish turkish  turkish ispanak turkish  turkish  turkish Metro turkish  turkish  turkish  turkish  turkish.” So I said, “Metro? Ah, Metro. Tamam.” (Metro? Ah, Metro. Okay.) I assume he was telling me that I could find spinach at Metro, which is a big grocery store in a richer part of town. That was nice of him to go out of his way to help me find what I was looking for, even if I only understood two words. 🙂

Anyway, the label on the bag was “beets” when I looked it up, so I guess I actually bought beet greens instead of spinach. I figure they basically get cooked and taste the same, so I more or less just went ahead with the recipe. I threw in some garlic, mostly because I started cooking before I pulled up the recipe (and who doesn’t love garlic?), and I didn’t have exact measurements of the tomato paste and the greens. I used the recipe as a general guideline, and it turned out pretty well. I think I overdid it on the proportion of tomato paste and onion to greens, and I added a little water to prevent stuff from sticking, but despite my deviations the end result still tasted pretty good. I had only one egg left in the fridge, so here’s my single-egg and greens, finished in the pan:

You can see that it’s considerably redder than the pictures on the recipe page. I definitely had too much tomato paste to be true to the original. Will make again, possibly following the recipe a little more closely and/or with actual spinach, not because what I made was bad, but just to see what the difference is. It’s the kind of recipe I like: tasty, easy to find ingredients (well, at least in the States), and pretty darn simple when you come right down to it.

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