Junior Jacob Pucci loves Turkey dinners. But it’s not just the leftovers from an American meal that we’re talking about.
Pucci is currently studying abroad – in Turkey!
This food connoisseur says Istanbul is “an ancient historical city that most people never see.” He adds that he is extremely glad he chose to study in Turkey.
“It makes you much more aware of the world you live in,” he adds.
Pucci is expanding his knowledge of the food world, as well. He has been cooking since the age of four or five, he says.
“I remember helping my mom cook stuff,” he says. This passion for food has grown through age, and travelling has made it even stronger.
“You certainly see a lot of different cuisines. Because it’s a Muslim country, a lot of the food selections are different. It’s almost impossible to find food products, and alcohol isn’t much of a part of the culture.”
Some of his new Turkish favorites include döner kebabs, kokorec – a roasted lamb intestine served on a sandwich – and baklava.
Tea is also an important part of the food culture.
“Literally everyone – young, old – you see everyone just sitting out during the calls for prayer drinking cups of tea. I’ve been on the train waiting for the conductor to finish his cup of tea, and you just accept that.”
“The way that the food is served and eaten is different, too. It’s a very sharing and welcoming culture. It’s a very slow, relaxed eating, as opposed to driving in the car.”
You may think ordering these new foods would be a challenge for Pucci, and at first it was, he says.
“Actually getting what I ordered was a challenge,” he adds. However, Pucci is taking classes in the Turkish language and is surprisingly well-spoken for only a few month’s experience.
“Occasionally if I order green beans, I’ll still get stuffed grape leaves, but they both taste good, so I don’t really mind,” he jokes.
Pucci will be in Turkey for the remainder of the semester, and says he definitely wants to return – and not just for the food.
“It’s just like the culture and the way of life there. Everyone is super friendly and really welcoming to any foreigner or anyone who comes there.”
If you'd like to read more about Pucci's food experiences in Turkey and around the world, check it out at theupstateeater.wordpress.com/