Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | January 27, 2014

Feb 2014 at molly’s cafe

February may be a short month, but at Molly’ Cafe, it is a full one!

italy mapSat. Feb. 1 9 to 11pmMalarazza Italian folk music Elisabetta Lanfredi and friends will play traditional Italian music from around Italy. Elisabetta is a musicologist and will also tell stories about the music she plays. If you missed them before, this is a good opportunity to listen to Elisabetta’s beautiful voice during an interesting and entertaining evening! 15 lira for the music.

heartSun. Feb. 9 12 to 5pm Valentine Gift Fair Come and shop for your valentine! Nicki’s chocolates, Margaret’s rose pin and barrettes, Mousso’s handmade jewelry, books about Istanbul, and more.


flower heartFri. Feb. 14 7:30pm Valentine’s Dinner for singles Come for dinner! Chicken cacciatore, pasta, salad, red velvet cake. 40 lira. Reservations by Thurs. Feb. 13 please.


udSat. Feb 15 9:00 to 11:00 pm Ivir Zivir is back by popular demand to offer their rousing Turkish and Balkan music. 15 lira for the music.


guitarSat. Feb. 22 9:00 to 11:00pm George Wabisca and Naim Korudag will rock us out with bluesy and classic vocals and guitar. 15 lira for the music.


inside out istSun. Feb. 23 4:30pm Lisa Morrow will do a talk about her book, Inside Out in Istanbul. This is a good opportunity to hear some stories about this interesting city.


Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | December 30, 2013

January 2014 at Molly’s Cafe

happy new year to all!  I hope this new year brings more peace in the world.

Here’s what’s happening so far at Molly’s Cafe as we jump into the new year:

 refugee campSun. Jan. 5 12 to 6pm Donate to Syrians and Van residents, both of whom are suffering from this cold winter specifically and suffering in general. Please bring your items and we will collect them and send them. Here is a list of suggestions:

Toiletries: soap, shampoo, tooth paste, toothbrushes, deodorant, aspirin, Tylohot, hand lotion, chapstick (lip balm).

Baby items: Handi-wipes, diapers and baby-wipes. Baby clothes

Medical items: Band-aids or bandage material. Cold medicine.

Basic warm clothing: hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, socks, long underwear, sweaters, jackets, long skirts, jeans, boots, sturdy shoes.

Bedding & linens: sheets, towels, blankets, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, pillows with covers.

Tents & large sheets of plastic. Rope, clothes pins. Sleeping pads

Food & related items: Re-sealable bags of dried fruits and nuts. Eat-out-of-the-can beans. Fresh fruits & easy-to-eat without-cooking vegies. Tea. Sugar cubes. Salt (iodized!). Juice and milk boxes. Bread. Jam. Honey. Olives. Chocolate bars. Big jars of pickled foods. Tinned tuna. For rice, dried beans, spices, etc, please include storage jars. Tableware, plates, bowls, glasses, utensils. Can-openers. Cooking pots and pans. Supermarket cards.

Misc: Flashlights with batteries, umbrellas, rain-cloaks. Pens. Notebooks. Dish-washing soaps. Safety pins. Sewing kits. Scissors. Candles in holders. Matches. Buckets. Small brooms and dust pans.

Money to help shipping.

Go through your cupboards and closets and see what you can come up with!

senegalese foodFri. Jan. 10 7:30pm Have you ever tasted Senegalese food? Here is your chance! Mousso will prepare an authentic meal for us. 50 lira. Reservations by Thurs. Jan 9 please.



matt krause photoSun. Jan. 12 4:30pm Matt Krause will be here again to talk about his walk across Turkey last year. He’ll be telling some new stories and fielding questions from the audience, which usually leads to the telling of more stories.



yesilcamFri. Jan. 17 7:00 – 9:30 Yesilcam for beginnersIn 1966 Turkey was fourth, just behind India, in world film production, with 238 films. Yeşilcam cinema production(Green Pine) was centred in and around Yeşilcam Sokak in Beyoğlu. The phenomenal rise and fall of the Turkish Hollywood from the late 1950s- 1980s is what John will be exploring this evening through a series film clips, images and stories. By the end of the night you should be able to consider yourself culturally-savvy with the stars, films and directors of this influential period. Please reserve by Thursday Jan. 16.

udSat. Jan. 18 9 to 11pm Savas Cagman and Yildirm Yalcinkaya will play a selection of ethnic music from Turkey. Savas is well known in the Turkish music scene for his renderings of Armenian, Greek, and Turkish music and has put out six albums. He is currently involved with the Galata Project. Come for a rousing evening of great music! 15 lira for the music.


danielle guitarSat. Jan. 25 9 to 11pm Danielle Hebert and friends. Danielle was born in Quebec, Canada. She studied classical guitar then continued with jazz guitar in college. In 1995 she released her first album. Over the years, three more solo albums of original music and one recording of jazz standards for a label followed that first effort. Her musical work started to be recognized with many awards, grants and prizes. In 2011, after travelling around North America, she landed in Ottawa. There she found herself living mostly around Turks. Turkish music opened a whole new musical world for her. She was given a bağlama and learned her first Turkish song: “Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim.” She has been in Istanbul since May 2013. 15 lira for the music.

Please note that the cafe will be closed on Tues. Jan. 21 and 26.

Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | December 23, 2013

christmas dinner is full

yep, if you have not reserved a spot for dinner, you are out of luck. however, if you want to stop by on christmas eve, i am offering eggnog (spiked or not) and  mulled wine, along with christmas cookies.

merry christmas!

Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | December 12, 2013

bagels, english muffins, pies and more at molly’s cafe

so, dear friends, i have been baking to help keep the cafe warm and i have decided to sell some of my baked goods.  i have bagels! 10 lira for 6.  english muffins!  8 lira for 6.  cookies! 5 lira for 6.  large (minimum 8 slices, more if you cut them thinner) pumpkin or apple pie!  50 lira each, 15 lira deposit for tin.  if you are interested, pls let me know.  0536 258 45 86


Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | December 5, 2013

So you want to open a café… advice from Molly’s Café

sıgn croppedSeveral different people have walked into my café and exclaimed that they too wanted to open a café Many of these people have never even worked in a café So, for them especially I want to write about some of the realities of running a café



tiredFirst of all, since this is my own business, I work a LOT. Seven days a week, at least 12 hours a day. Sometimes 15 or 16 hours a day if there is an event. Mostly I enjoy it, but I get very tired after the really long days.


IMG_0214What do I do in the café? Everything. I was raised having to be in charge of my younger siblings while our mother worked. I remember her instructing me over the phone how to make rice pudding– when I was 12. My father baked bread and made the best lemon meringue pie. They both made pancakes. My mother baked cookies and cakes but always said she could not do pies. Later I was a young hippie mother and made everything, even tofu once (it was not as good as the boughten tofu). I baked 12 loaves of bread at a time for sale and for trade. My kids grew up eating homemade wholewheat bread with homemade jam on it. They started life with a vegetarian mother, but that changed after their father slipped them meat. I decided anyway that I did not have a good reason to be vegetarian other than that my friends were. At any rate, we ate what I cooked and baked– no opening of boxes or ordering in. Little did I know that I was preparing to open a café with home-cooked food. So, yes, I make the soups, salads, bread, cakes, pies, cookies, hot chocolate mix, pancake mix, Mrs. Mollyworth’s fake maple syrup, all of it.


dishwasherPlus, I wash dishes. I load and unload the dishwasher (yes, folks, the dishes are very clean in this café). I take orders, I make the food, I deliver orders. I chat up the customers, answer tourist questions, deal with the neighbours. I keep track of money out and money in, pay the bills and the rent and the taxes.





CIMG0009I also hire people to help me. I have to guess when the busy days will be to know whether the helper will be actually helping or sitting around. Of course when we have a program I expect we will be busy. Usually weekends are steady, but sometimes they are slow. If a helper does not work out, I have to find a new one. I have to train each new helper. This is how you make coffee or tea, this is how you prepare a plate, this is where you put away the dishes. I have had helpers from several nationalities and ages. I have had male helpers, but I prefer girls or women, as this is a woman’s café and women tend to work better in this environment. When good helpers leave, I am very sad and when they don’t work out I feel no compunction at letting them go.


SL370341Sometimes I have to deal with dodgy people. I fend off the odorous almost street people, I stand up to the guys who I don’t trust. I send off the men who ask for nescafe who would put off my real customers. I scold people who try to be mean to the street cats that I feed. I don’t often have unhappy customers (that I know of), but if there should be a complaint I deal with it calmly and politely, venting later.




televisionSomeone asked me recently what I did for a social life. Well, folks, this is it. By the end of the day I am not usually ready to go out. Lying on the couch and watching television sounds better to me, as I know there will be another long day coming.




dictionarySome customers ask if I speak Turkish. Yes, I do. It is not perfect, but it is enough for dealing with customers and bureaucrats. I could not do this if I did not speak the language. Plus it allows me to enter the culture more. In addition, it means I am not constantly asking a Turkish person to go with me to the various bureaucracies. However, I am still not very good on the phone, so sometimes I ask someone to help me then.




photo (1)As I was in the process of reopening my café this time, some people asked what my ‘concept’ was. I found it an irritating question. To me, the idea of a concept is that you are creating something artificial. Here, with the open brick walls, the exposed electric cables, and the cement floors, I joke that my concept is industrial home. However, I would say that this café, like my other locations, is organic. People give me things, I get things second or third or fifth hand, and I fit them all in together to make a comfortable environment where I hope people feel at home. If anything, that is my concept. On the other hand, a customer was recently telling me about his friend who had spent $350,000 on decorating a café, including $400 door handles on the bathrooms. To me, this is excessive. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend and I have found over the years that I can do a lot with a little.


cafe frontOne American woman came in saying she wanted to open a café on the Aegean. She had visited Turkey often, but she had never lived here. I advised her to live for at least a year where she wanted to open a café. That way she would have time to learn the language and know the people. Someone had told her that there were lots of expats in the town she was thinking of, but what did that mean? 20? 1000? And would they want to go to a café she might open? I could make my café go because I had been here for ten years already and I knew a lot of people from work and from the house parties I used to give. And since I have been in Galata since 2002, I know the local people and they know me. On this new street I am getting to know the ‘esnaf’, the other businesspeople, and that also is an important component.


remaining photos 08 231I have seen many places open that the owner renovates and then staffs with cooks and waiters, expecting to sit around and get rich. However, often the customers do not come and the doors close permanently in a short time. If the owner does not deign to get in and get his or her hands involved, failure is much more of an option.





leaping the chasmRisk is the name of this game anyway. ‘Build it and they will come’ may work for some, but it is highly unlikely. I am lucky in that I have a particular niche (homemade non Turkish food) and that I have a lot of friends and a wide customer base, built up over a few years. But still there is a risk. Customers are capricious and the economy or the political situation could go south at any time. My feeling, based on my days as a poor university student, is that people can always afford a cup of coffee, though that will not necessarily keep my doors open! Ultimately, life is a risk and we jump in or not. I have jumped many times, not always successfully.



belediye binasiI wrote in another blog about the process of setting up a limited şirket. However, there are other hoops to jump through, one of the biggest being getting a permit from the municipality. Truthfully, of the five years I have had my café, I have had a hard-won permit for only six months. I am in the process of trying to get one again. Ach! The manager of the permit department pointed to a large white spot on his map of Beyoğlu and informed me that it was under the aegis of the government and the people in his department had been instructed not to issue permits. Around the time I was visiting that department, several hotels in the neighbourhood were being closed down. Why? No one seems to know for sure, aside from the fact that they did not have permits. Since I rent my space from one of those hotels, I am hoping that they bring their influence to bear and that it has a positive effect on my café In the meantime, the hotels on my street have taken down their signs, but mine is still up. The last time I went to the belediye (the municipality) I asked the manager yet again what to do and he gave me his phone number, though I had to ask someone else his name. So I am playing the waiting game again and hoping they do not get mean and close me down.


heartThere is a very romantic concept of having a café, that you as the owner will graciously welcome customers and please them with little effort on your part. This is absolutely not true. You have to work hard and sometimes that includes being nice to people you don’t like (luckily that does not happen often). One thing I really like is introducing people to each other so they can meet new, usually interesting people. Many years ago I wanted to have a place where interesting people would come and interact and I am fortunate that my café has become that reality.




Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | November 30, 2013

December 2013 at Molly’s Café

Another busy month at Molly’s Café! There is a little bit of something for everyone.

booksSun. Dec. 1    11:00amBook club meets. Come and talk about interesting (or not) books you have read, exchange books, pick some new ones up.




trici book coverSun. Dec. 1 4:30pm Book presentation by Trici Venola. Trici is well known for her unique drawings of Istanbul. Come and hear her talk about her newest book and buy a copy for yourself and your friends.




oscar wildeSat. Dec. 7   8:30pm Eric Wilcox presents Luke Webb in an encore of his play Oscar Wilde in San Francisco. This played last year to excellent reviews and Eric is offering it again at Molly’s Café. Tickets are 20 lira, available at Molly’s Cafe.




italy mapFri. Dec. 13   9 to 11pm Italian folk music Elisabetta Lanfredi and friends will play traditional Italian music from around Italy. Elisabetta is a musicologist and will also tell stories about the music she plays. This will be an interesting and entertaining evening! 15 lira for the music.




trinidadSat. Dec. 14   7:30pm  Caribbean dinner by Veersen Boolai. Having grown up in Trinidad, Veersen has a good grasp of yummy Caribbean food. Dishes include stewed chicken and vegies, beef and red beans, rice, and mixed salad. Delicious! 50 lira, reservation only, by Dec. 13.



writerSun. Dec. 15 4:30 Readings by the Istanbul Writers Group. Local poets and writers read from their work.



udFri. Dec. 20 9:00 to 11:00 pm Ivir Zivir is back by popular demand to offer their rousing Turkish and Balkan music. 15 lira for the music.



xmas treeTues. Dec. 24 8:00 to 10:00 Christmas Eve Stop by for Christmas cookies and real homemade eggnog. Carolling optional…




turkeyWed. Dec. 25 7:30pm Traditional Christmas Dinner. Turkey and all the trimmin’s for a traditional family. Dinner will be served family style, so come with friends and family and be prepared to meet new and old friends. 100 lira including beverages. Maximum 25 people, so reserve early. The list is already half full.



guitarSat. Dec. 28 9:00 to 11:00pm George Wabisca will rock us out with his bluesy and classic vocals and guitar. If you missed him last month, this is a good opportunity to catch him. 15 lira for the music.



new year's eveTues. Dec. 31 8:00pm – 12:30am A congenial New Year’s Eve This will be a low key event for those who don’t want to blow a lot of money to greet the new year. Come early for dinner a la carte or come later for finger food and beverages.






Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | November 13, 2013

Stories from Sahkulu Sokak by Molly’s Cafe

Turks love to chat. When business is slow, you find the neighbouring businesspeople on the street. I want to introduce you to some of my ‘esnaf’, as well as some of the history of this modest street.

CIMG0223Once a street of modest homes, it probably hit bottom a few years ago. In fact this street used to be very funky in a not nice way. It was filled with workshops of varying nastiness and at night the tinkering (glue sniffers) hung out here. Before that it was populated by prostitutes.



CIMG0156 CIMG0157


CIMG0303On this street there is one man, Huseyin, who is a lathe operator in one of the small workshops here. He told me that he had made metal parts for some of the mosques that had been restored. He also knows all the many landlords of old. For example, he had a workshop near my café, now a used book seller. He listed off the many other incarnations that shop had had, including a music shop, a real estate office and his own workshop for twelve years.


CIMG0224Now the used bookseller occupies a basement space filled with old books and funky items like old posters, watched, and cameras.



My café was an upholstery workshop for decades. The owner was well known for his work but he died a few years ago. I was relieved to learn that it had not been a metal workshop. When the building was sold, the upholstery shop moved away. Recently the son of the upholstery man was in the neighbourhood and stopped by for a look. He was quite surprised but did not stay for the tea I offered him. Another man stopped by to say that he had learned the upholstery trade right here in the 70s.

CIMG0226There is still a hurdaci next to my café, where they collect old metal. Every few days they bring a big truck and fill it with all kinds of metal pieces. Sometimes there are treasures. For example, he had a beautiful old mirror hanging around, which he sold to me for 50 lira. Another day he had several nice iron flower holders and sold me the best two for 75 lira. I have purchased some flower pots and even a duvak, the traditional red, sequinned head covering for a bride, from them. Occasionally he will move things with his cart from one place to another and if I have metal junk I give it to him. I noticed they collect pop cans, so if I can find room to do so, I will collect them for him. Unfortunately, the hurdaci often makes quite a racket as they break down the metal pieces. One day they broke down an old safe. It was full of a grey sand, which looked to me like lead. He said it was to prevent the contents from burning if there was a fire. CIMG0200


The building above it is a wreck, though some Kurdish boys often stay in one of the less wrecked flats. They make components for lamps. The building beside it is an empty derelict, as are the two buildings across the street. However, I was told that those buildings have been bought ‘by a very rich man’ who will turn them into boutique hotels. There is a hotel above my café, one across from the café, and on two corners here larger buildings are being turned into hotels. So soon, this will be a very nice street.

the new hotel entrance, soon to be covered by marble

the new hotel entrance, soon to be covered by marble






CIMG0326Up the street is Cayci Nuri, who has been selling tea for 30 years. He has seen this street change immensely. He knows everybody and everything, as tea guys tend to do. CIMG0325



CIMG0327The shop beside him has been there for four years, a girl making and selling jewellery. I like to stop once in a while and look in the window for gift ideas.




IMG_0057Next to my café is Akustik Saz, owned by Oktay, a well known musician in Turku circles. His family is from the Black Sea and he speaks Laz, a language that is connected to Georgian. It has its own alphabet and a totally different grammar from Turkish. Oktay plays the keman, which is a sort of fiddle that is held upright. He also plays the saz. The music that comes out of his shop is great, as he has a good collection of recorded music and of course musicians stop by to jam. A couple of his friends play the tulum, which is a kind of bagpipe. Oktay knows I like it and one day turned up the music in his shop when he had found some Scottish bagpipe music. I dashed in, saying it was my music and did a couple of steps to it. Some people say that the bagpipe actually came from this part of the world.

One day I met a neighbour who lives at the end of this street in a building in the passage. Many years ago the rich man who built the buildings around it made the passage open to people to walk through as a short cut between this street and Kucuk Hendek Sokak. Otherwise, one has to walk around one of two corners and down the hill. The passage saves a few minutes of walking. However, now it is locked, as the glue sniffers had taken over the garden. This man, from the UK, told me that he has been coming to Istanbul for more than 40 years and that his family had been here since 1840. That distant relative, a Jew, had come because of the anti-Jewish events in Hungary. Along the way there had been children, a few marriages, and a few more offspring. This man was telling me that his grandmother had grown up here and spoke 8 languages. She talked to her servants in Greek, went to a French school, spoke German and Italian from living there, married an Englishman, and so on. Although she grew up here, she did not learn Turkish until she moved back here. Eventually she died of course and this man looked into the flat that the family owned. He owns 1/5 of it and has the right to live in it and the other 4/5 belongs to other inheritors who he does not know and who probably do not know about the flat. It is so interesting to learn about the close and distant personal history in this area!

Of course I can’t forget to mention the sellers.  I am lucky that I live in an old part of town, as the newer parts do not have this level of service, partly because if the residents are on the streets, they are in their cars and partly because these satici remind them of the village or the old days. I like having things delivered, because it means that I don’t have to carry them.  Here are some of them:




convenient vegetable shopping every morning

convenient vegetable shopping every morning

Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | November 9, 2013

thanksgiving 2013 at molly’s cafe

turkeyPeople have been asking about Thanksgiving at Molly’s Cafe this year!  Yes, Molly’s Cafe is indeed doing Thanksgiving this year.  There will be turkey and all the trimmin’s, salad, vegies, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and beverages– 90 lira all included.  There is limited seating, so reservations are necessary, by email at or by phone at 0536 258 45 86.  It is family seating at 7:30, so be prepared to meet new people.  I am certainly thankful this year to be back in Istanbul and back in Molly’s Cafe!

Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | October 26, 2013

Balci Koyu- far away from Molly’s Café!

Recently my accountant invited me to visit his village with him, as he had some business there. Since I had not been out of Istanbul for two years, except to go to Texas and Canada, I decided I would do it. I closed the café for the day and ventured out.

I was on the ferry to Kadikoy as the sun was just reddening the sky. Yasar met me at the iskele and led me to his car, where his lawyer, Murat, was in the front seat and Yasar’s wife, Birgul, was in the back. We immediately headed out to Adapazari and beyond. We left Birgul at the bus station in Izmit, as she had some things to take of (a sick relative, it turned out) and stopped on the highway outside of town for a huge traditional breakfast buffet, with everything from ‘village’ bread to fried vegetables to melemen (slightly sloppy scrambled eggs). We ate and ate. Outside I petted a friendly dog and then off we went again.  On the way we stopped so I could take photos of a dam that i guess was built to help with irrigation.  It was a good opportunity to look at the countryside.









Yasar and Murat had business at the courthouse, so we had to go to a small town called Kandira. On the way, we stopped to see a dam that had been built. It was not the grand dam (ha ha) that I had expected, but the view was very picturesque. I waited at the courthouse for their case to come up and I chatted with Yasar’s relative, a chubby young woman. They are trying to correct the deed to their property, which has not been sorted out since Ottoman times. Of course various people have died in the past 80 years, so sorting it out is problematic, as there are a lot of relatives involved in it now. After the hearing, they had to do something else in another part of the complex, so I waited outside and took a picture of the typical dog sleeping in the sun. CIMG0236




After they came out, we went across the street for some tea and then had to go to the tapu (deed) office. There I saw some other people who were evidently also trying to get their land ownership sorted out, as their documents included a photocopy of papers written in Osmanlica, the old form of Turkish written in Arabic script. Yasar and I waited outside, where we looked at the cows that were grazing in the empty lot beside the road. I commented on their necklaces and Yasar told me that they were to ward off bad luck. The man looking after the cows sat on the upper roadside with his dogs. Apparently he can take his cows to graze any empty lot as long as he has permission and/or it does not damage the land. CIMG0239CIMG0238





I commented on the many realtors I had seen around. This area is in the vicinity of where the highway to and from the infamous third bridge will be. Now a donum (about 1000 square metres) that used to sell for about 500 lira might sell for 30,000 lira. People will buy them as an investment or to build their country villas on or developers will buy a lot of them to build ugly apartment buildings and villas.


CIMG0241Balci Koyu (Village) is tiny. There are maybe half a dozen houses in a hidden little spot. You cannot see it from the main road (well, at least the paved road). We had the one sister with us in the car and the two other sisters greeted us at the gate. The mother waited for us in the house until we had finished looking at their large garden and their outside oven, in which they had made pide for us. CIMG0243They had also roasted chestnuts in it for us. They grow enough food to feed themselves and to give away. They also have a small acreage nearby where they grow maydonos (like parsley) and onions, and also where they have a small greenhouse for more onions and lettuce. These women do all the work themselves, except for having someone come in periodically with a tractor to plough the acreage.




CIMG0249We went inside for a wonderful lunch spread. This included meat from the ‘kurban’ they had during the Feast of the Sacrifice. This was cut into little pieces. There were also fried potato pieces, the potatoes from the garden of course. Fresh green peppers, fresh white cheese they had bought from a neighbour, store-bought helva, and what they called lokum. This usually refers to Turkish delight, but in this case it was a bread with walnuts and a little sugar in it, a sort of Turkish version of cinnamon rolls. Of course there were also olives and endless glasses of tea. CIMG0250




CIMG0268After we had eaten as much as we possibly could, in spite of urgings to eat more, we walked out to see the small acreage. This is part of the land that is in court. Yasar pointed out a mountain in the near distance and told me that the Black Sea was just on the other side of it. CIMG0270Two of the sisters picked maydonos and told us that they got about 80 kurus (40 cents) for two bunches, which then sell to the consumer at 1 lira or more. They showed us how if the stalk of the maydonos was white or pale green, it was acceptable for sale, but if it was yellow, it would be rejected. Part of the area had been harvested but isolated bunches were coming up. When winter comes, the whole area dies down. CIMG0266









CIMG0258Then we walked around the village a bit. Across from their house is a cesme, a spring. This one dripped out of a pipe. When the area it dripped into got full, the water went into a trough from which the animals could drink. The people in the village used this and another one for their own water, but now they have running water. CIMG0259CIMG0294Nearby was an old stone that was used to pound bulgur. Now it just collects rainwater. Other interesting things I saw was a tall narrow slatted structure. This is for holding cobs of corn as they dry. I saw a full one in another village later on.



CIMG0281When we got to the end of the village road (maybe 100 metres down), we saw another spring. A woman was cleaning it up a bit. Like the other one, it had a trough for the overflow. However, the water in it came up from the ground in three different places. When the village used the water from it for their homes they would send someone down to clean it out once in a while– 10 metres of cold cold water! However, they complained that when the city put in the new brick roads, the way the spring was covered made it hard for the anyone to get in and clean it.


CIMG0271As we walked, we were barked at by dogs, mewed at by kittens, quacked at by ducks, mooed at by cows. There were chickens around the village. A group was in the bushes when we came out from looking at the field and there were others here and there. CIMG0286 At one corner there were a few chicken condos. The chickens knew which ones were theirs and returned at night. The human owners could check for eggs, though if an egg was laid elsewhere it was fair game.









CIMG0256When we returned to the house, we sat outside and were given chocolate, real lokum, cookies, more tea, Turkish coffee, more tea, nescafe (I passed), more tea. They have a very comfortable place for the summer, as there are a few couches and an armchair under the metal roof. CIMG0257CIMG0256





CIMG0299When we left, these generous woman loaded us up with goodies. I took home two bags full. While I was waiting for the ferry home, I looked to see what was there. One full bag of mint, from which I found some pieces with roots and planted them in my ‘garden’ at the café The other bag contained some of the lokum bread; some of their homemade village bread, solid and crusty; some of the spinach pide they had made in the outside oven; and some home-grown organic maydonos.


It was very interesting to spend time in the tiny village with these authentic village women. After we left, I asked about them. The daughters ranged in age from 30 to 45 and had never married. There was no one in the village and they did not want to move to a bigger city to find a husband. Also their father became ill and died a few years ago and now their mother is ill. They are very lucky that Yasar is helping them. He and his wife see them as a little helpless, and they probably are in the worldly sense. However, at the same time I saw them as strong women. They take care of their mother, they plan and plant and harvest their garden and fields, and they manage their house. I really enjoyed my time with them. I certainly enjoyed getting into the beautiful countryside and out of the city.


As we drove back into the present, Yasar would point out various villages where his relatives lived. I really got a sense of how wide the Turkish family can be. I was very pleased to have been invited in to that world for a day.


Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | October 20, 2013

November 2013 at Molly’s Cafe

All the bayrams are about over and it is time to get busy at Molly’s Cafe! Here is the program so far:

curryFri. Nov. 1 7:30pm Our first special dinner is Sri Lankan curry. 50 lira, 10 of which goes to Ranit. Drinks not included. Maximum 25 people, so reserve early!




udSat. Nov. 2 9:00 to 11:00 pm Ivir Zivir returns! Nicholas and friends will play rousing Balkan and Turkish music. 15 lira for the music.



Turkey mapSun. Nov. 10 4:30 pm Matt Krause will talk about his walk across Turkey and the books he has written.



guitarSat. Nov. 16 9:00 to 11:00pm George Wabisca will rock us out with his bluesy and classic vocals and guitar. If you missed him at the Canadian Jam, this is a good opportunity to catch him. 15 lira for the music.



Sun. Nov. 17 4:30pm Poetry reading by Julie Doxsee. She will read from her new book, The Next Monsters, and of course will have copies for sale.


Sun. Nov. 24 12:00 to 6:00 pm Gift sale. Handmade gifts by local people will help you get reading for the holiday season. Offerings range from baby gifts, jewellery, soaps, etc. If you are interested in participating, let me know by Nov. 21.


turkeyThurs. Nov. 28 7:30pm Thanksgiving! Turkey and all the trimmin’s for a traditional family dinner without the arguments. Dinner will be served family style at a biiiiggg table, so come with friends and family and be prepared to meet new and old friends. 90 lira including beverages. Maximum 25 people, so reserve early!

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