I look at the walnut at the end of my fork and inspected it closely. It wasn’t just the nut part that we normally crack the shell to get to – but instead it was the whole shell poised on my fork prong. How in the world did the Turkish make this impenetrable nut into a soft yet firm dessert that tasted so good? And most importantly – WHY did they decide to make a walnut shell into a dessert?
Hulya, our Turkish food expert and guide, simply answered my ‘why’ with , “The Ottoman Empire and Sultans had a lot of people who could do time consuming work.“ She went on to explain that the walnut had been boiled about 5 different times over the course of days in order to get it to this soft, sweet, consistency. In Turkey they call it Ceviz Macunu which means some variation of green walnuts in syrup.
I stared at it further in amazement at how something that we treated as waste, a walnut shell, could be so good. But this wasn’t the first time that Turkish food surprised me – the Turks were masters at taking foods that we think we know and using them in different ways.
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