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Sütlaç

by Carmen McClelland

Many options at the Spice Bazaar

 

My favorite Turkish word is sütlaç. It means rice pudding, and I could not tell you why I love this word. I think it partly has to do with my first encounter with it. It was my first Sunday in Turkey, and a friend and I decided that we were going to go exploring and find a place to eat brunch. We had no idea where we were going, how to say anything in Turkish besides ‘thank you,’ and we were completely okay with it. We hopped on the bus, got off at a random stop, and picked a restaurant. We ended up both getting pasta, but the waiter was just the nicest man. He helped us pronounce words and understand what they meant. I learned how to say mushrooms in Turkish, which is very important because they are one of my favorite foods.

A waffle with all of the fixings

A waffle with all of the fixings

At the end of our meal, we decided that we deserved dessert. We went back inside to look at all of the wonderful pastries, and we asked the man what his favorite dish was. What did he point out? Sütlaç. It was nothing extraordinary or life altering, but the man wrote down how you say it and the word for bill. He was not fluent in English but he tried, and appreciated that we wanted to learn how to order in Turkish. That is another thing that I have noticed since being here, as long as you try and make an effort, people will help you. Even if someone does not speak English, they go above and beyond to try and help.

I don’t know if it is because I make sure that I say everything with a smile or that I try my best to not come off as a condescending American, but I have always found help when I needed it. When my uncle came and visited, he noticed the same thing. He was concerned about me coming to Turkey, but since he visited, he is much more at ease because he was able to witness the hospitality and helpfulness that Turkish people offer.

He could have also been swayed after he had some sütlaç.

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