Okay, so it’s not quite the children’s rhyme, but close enough!  I realized that I hardly ever remember to include the sort of “local color” that we get to enjoy living here.

First off, we actually do have a neighborhood butcher, two bakers, and an olive oil vendor.  They’re all about three blocks from our house, along with a fish market, a greengrocer, a hardware store, and a bunch of restaurants.  There are also giant modern grocery stores here, but most of the time we prefer to get our vegetables at the open-air market on the weekend and our meat in our neighborhood.  The olive oil we can buy at the little shop near our house is wonderful.

ossobucco

Shopping in our neighborhood has also helped us practice and improve our Turkish, and now that we’ve been here for several months the guys in the shops recognize us and patiently put up with our sign language when necessary.  Like this past week…Danny decided he really wanted osso bucco (which, in case you’ve never had it, is AWESOME.  It’s bone-in veal shanks that are cooked until they’re wonderfully tender and falling off the bone).  Of course, osso bucco is an Italian specialty, so we armed ourselves with our Turkish dictionary and a copy of the picture at the right and headed off to the butcher.  (Incidentally, the fact that the English words for calf (from which veal comes) and calf (being the part of the body the osso bucco cut comes from) are the same makes looking them up in the dictionary interesting.)  We were also buying some lamb shoulder for Indian night.  I’m sure passers-by were entertained if they looked in the window of the butcher shop and saw Danny grabbing his shoulder, then his calf, and miming “1-inch cubes” (for the shoulder) and “thick steaks with bone in” for the veal.

Since we had forgotten to look up the word for “bone,” we had to do some pointing and gesturing to get our point across that we wanted the shank with the bone in it.  My favorite part of that whole exchange was when, to demonstrate that he understood what we meant by “bone,” the butcher pulled a cow’s femur out of the walk-in freezer and held it up.

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