That First Step is a Big One
We were traipsing through the Turkish spice market trying to find the back alley that was reportedly where the locals go to shop. We were accosted as Western tourists and cornered by the crowd.
“We need to get out of here,” I told Michael. I barely remember the Middle Eastern wares we passed as we ducked through the crowd and out into the light. We decided to stop and get our bearings while grabbing a cup of coffee at the famous Kurukahveci Mehmet Effendi coffee roaster.
There was already a line at fresh coffee and as we waited for our espressos we realized we were already in the back alley where the locals were shopping. Now we were in the real Turkish spice market.
After finishing a coffee that was in my top three for best of all time, we stepped across the alley and instantly almost killed ourselves. So mesmerized by the rainbow colored display of spices, Michael and I almost stepped into a small hole in the ground. This hole lead to the underground storage facility for the market and it had a small ladder, but the drop against the sharp metal frame could have ended our adventure.
The shopkeepers took pity and helped us over the hole and into what I can only describe as other-worldly. The scents, the colors, the shapes of spices were so foreign to me. We bought a variety of peppers in just enough quantity to hopefully extend our trip into the next few months in our own kitchen.
These small bags of pepper became gold to me. I carefully doled out a spoonful here and a mashed pinch there to flavor a few dishes a week. The layers of flavor from those peppers were so enhancing I will never forget the smell, the savory taste or one of the most colorful rainbows I’ve ever seen.