Turks don’t care much for cereals, but I do!

“Today, let’s have an American breakfast,” we said with Nus. I went to the canteen; some cereals and milk, done. Is that it? Even if I had breakfast, it’s not one I’ll remember…. I don’t need to go to school or work, why was it over in such a short time? When preparing breakfast, first the kettle should be put on. In the meantime, we boil eggs, or fry them in olive oil. If  boiled, I would usually eat two of them, softboiled. If fried, it’s cooked with some red pepper flakes and sweet smelling sujuk. Hmmm. During summer, we definitely have tomatoes and cucumbers as well. In winter, there usually are 3-4 peppers grilling on the stovepipe. As soon as they’re done, into some traditional village bread with some salt, sweet. Together with some salty cheese soaked in hot water – tulum cheese or kaşar. I prefer tulum cheese. 🙂 Home made cranberry or sour cherry jam onto butter. The tea has been brewed too. That’s my breakfast.”

Elif Y.

Continuing with our little “Breakfast Club”, my Turkish roommate and I decided to go for cereals this time. She’s so used to seeing me just grab my cereal bowl – which I’ve had since 2009 and I’m still travelling with – that she wanted to try it as well. However, she wasn’t as impressed at the sensation of cold milk, crunchy cereal and soft sliced fruit (it’s a real science!). Nope, she wasn’t impressed at all, as you can see from her testimony above.

Home made granola with cashew and sesame milk, and a cookie dough (chickpea based) dip.
Home made granola with cashew and sesame milk, and a cookie dough (chickpea based) dip.

The tradition of breakfast cereal may have started in the U.S. but now it’s probably the most preferred breakfast of the Western world. Grab a bowl, pour milk over cereal, and you’re sorted. Quick and efficient, just like everything else in our life. I only started eating cereal during my teenage years because that was the quickest thing to down in the morning. My breakfast habit became was even more convenient for my big city life in London where I was just on the go all the time. I do find it amazing how our work tends to shape our eating habits. Cereal for dinner and a sandwich for lunch, that’s the standard. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I usually try to wake up a little bit earlier just so I can enjoy the sanctity of this morning meal, but sometimes it just wasn’t possible when have to be out of the door by 6.30 am, at the latest.

Quick breakfast and some light reading
Quick breakfast and some light reading

Though it started just as a means of convenience, I love cereals and probably was one of the firsts to get excited about the UK’s first cereal cafe that recently opened in London (I can’t wait to go there!). Why? I’d say it’s because it’s one of the few things that’s been constant in my life and I suppose I like the comfort of that. My mother immediately goes out to buy my favourite cereals as soon as I’m saying I’m flying back home. Do you think I’m weird because I’m thinking I’m weird right now. 

Funnily enough, here in Turkey, breakfast cereal has turned into a treat for me. For one, we don’t get a large variety of choices here unlike in London or even back home in Mauritius unless I go to the big supermarkets or international stores but even then they’re quite expensive. Add the outrageous price of soya or almond milk on top of that, and it’s a little fortune that would pay me a feast at any breakfast house at Hamamönü. Didn’t stop me from getting some organic oats and coconut milk from the market, which cost me an arm and leg.

What the Turkish people consider more acceptable in the morning.
What the Turkish people consider more acceptable in the morning.

For the Turkish people here, breakfast is a family affair and having cereals on the go is simply not an option. My roommate got her cheese, tomatoes and olives after the cereal fiasco, downed with tea. And that marked the beginning of the day for her…

Are you one of those who prefer to eat on the go for breakfast, or even skip breakfast because of lack of time?

Original text:

Bugün amerikan kahvaltısı yapalım dedik arkadaşım nussaibah ile. Kantine gittim, biraz gevrek ve süt bitti. Bu kadar mı? Kahvaltı yaptığımı bile hatırlayamayacağım bir kahvaltı… Okula veya işe yetişmem gerekmiyor, neden bu kadar kısa sürdü? Kahvaltı hazırlanırken önce suyu çaydanlığa koyup kaynatırız. O kaynarken yumurta haşlarız veya zeytinyağında kızartırız. haşlanıyorsa iki tane yerim, kızartma ise üzerine pul biber veya mis gibi sucukla pişir. Immm. yaz mevsimiyse yanında domates, salatalık mutlaka olur. Yok kış mevsimiyse sobanın üzerine at 3-4 biber. Pişince koy ekmeğin arasına biraz tuz. Misss. yanında biraz sıcak suda bekletilmiş tuzlu peynir, tulum peyniri ve kaşar. Benim tercihim tulum . Evde yapılmış kızılcık veya vişne reçeli üzerine biraz donmuş tereyağı. Çayı da demledik mi tamamdır.

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10 thoughts on “Turks don’t care much for cereals, but I do!”

    1. To be honest, if I had the choice for a warm hearty breakfast or a bowl of cereals, I’d definitely go for that one. But it does depend on when specifically. I absolutely refuse to have cereals on Sunday and instead take my time in the morning to prepare myself a little feast. However, on other days, I do mix it up a little, or even a lot 😉

      1. Really? Cool! I see that you’ll be here from the 15th to the 20th. One of my good friends will flying here from the US sometime during that weekend, but I definitely want to meet up for a “cuppa” (I had to Google that – haha)! Let’s keep in touch about it!

        As for tips – where will you be staying? What all do you want to see? We can email about it too if you want: quitethelittleescapologist@gmail.com.

  1. I always ate cereal when I was younger but I used orange juice instead of milk.

    However, when I moved to Taiwan, I was introduced to a type of ‘egg pancake’ (egg with a thin casing place on top) which could be ordered and quickly prepared at any breakfast stand (they are everywhere here) for next to nothing. I ate that for months because that was the only thing I knew how to order in Chinese. 🙂

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