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  • Growing up in mother was taught never to waste. To swallow every sour seed of the grape (for boosting health dramatically), to not buy anything for days until the watermellon was finished (Yes, if you were hungry in Turkey, you would always be offered watermellon and tea. Thats all we survived off of over there), and to crack open the pits of peaches and such to crunch on the nutrishious inner core. If something is just barely edible, the Turks will eat it. Or find some way to eat even further a finished bit of food. Nothing goes to waste. That's one lesson I think America should learn.
    The lord gave them their food, and the Turks will finish every morsel of their plates and then polish everything off with sugarless tea. That is Breakfast, Lunch and dinner. And everything in this routine of food, is to be eaten with bread. Nothing can be eaten without bread. Feasting in Turkey, you will rarely pick up your utensils, but gather up all the juices and morsels of egg, whatever it is, with a mastered swipe of whole grain bread. This is the Turkish eating tradition.

    But I can't always play along with it. With a tiny stomach facing a feast of exotic and heavy foods, it is terribly hard to finish the plate. And I rarely do. But this is not tolerated across the ocean in southern Turkey. You must finish everything that has been brought to you on your plate. If you don't, well, you can't not you are to sit at the table until you do. Now, I don't want to drive some picky-appetited people away from Turkey; the food really is fantastic to a matured tounge who can handle the cheeses and souces and bittterness, there's just...alot of food. And that food is to be finished. If not, there will be problems. Every bean is to be gone. every leaf. Really. I can faintly remember my grandmother coaxing me to finish the last slice of tomato in the cup, saying something like, "Oh, please Deniz, the little tomato is crying because you abandoned it, please eat it so it can be with it's friends and make you strong." Something of that sort she said, some babyish coax, wich always won me over because I was even sympathic for food in those days.

    And so, the Turkish rule of finishing all your food, all parts of your food, followed me home to Boston. my mother believed in that rule, was taught in that way, and wasn't about to drop it in a new country. Just when I thought I was saved from that exhausting feeling of having your belly filled to the brim (I like eating just to the point before I'm completely full). Anyway, one day my dad whent shopping, like he does seven days a week, and brought home a pomogranate among his other prizes. Now, I love pomogranate. I love the gem like seeds inside, their beautiful hot pinks and shiny reds. The bitter-sweetness.The way I can pop them handfulls at a time into my mouth and pretend I'm eating jewels. But, when I get to the inner seed, I work around it and spit the most nutrishious part of the pomegranate out. The seed is as bitter as grape seed. But, as you learn in Turkey, you can't eat everything that's tasty. If you don't face sourness, You can't live life quite as healthily. A big thing for me to admit.

    But only a year ago, I would still be going for the sweet spots, oblivious to how much I was wasting. And, once, mother saw me spitting the seeds ungratefully into the trash cup. That sight stuck in to her eye like a thorn, I'd think, and what she'd been taught in her childhood about finishing your food and everything there is to your food set her on fire. The seeds did nothing but good. They would make a person live much longer, and keep them healthy along the way. THEY SHOULD NOT BE WASTED! She told me all of this in an outraged shout, and me, trying to act cool and unmoved (that's just what I do when I'm yelled at) reacted obnoxiously, I'd think, and that was it. She weeled away and slammed herself into her relaxinng room. The bedroom/T.V. Room.

    Well, I got the point of all that. With the influence of Turkey and mother, I swallowed the seeds on that day. And now I always swallow the seeds. And, coming back to the day when I truly learned that Turkish rule, I was sad for mom. I mean, I can't live without confirming that everybody loves everybody and that everyone in the house is happy. If someone's less then in high spirits, I've gotta do something. I don't know where that comes from in me, but it does. So, that night I prepared mom's relaxing dish of tea and chocolate (with a little "I'm sorry" flag sticking up from one of the chocolates) and presented the dish to her. All forgiven. Even more forgiven when she learned that I'd eaten the seeds.

    So that's the sweetness that comes in reward for going through the sourness. Both metaphorically and simply as it is. It's a lesson to life. Finish your plate, the great plate of life, and all it has to offer, and you can leave this earth full and satisfied and with the sweetest memories and manner.
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