I used to say that making salça (paste) with my SIL was the most fun you could have in the Village with your clothes on. In fact, I even complained a few years back about my SIL’s family taking over my salça making duties and ruining my fun. I take it back now. All of it. Salça making ain’t fun. In fact, now I think that making salca is the equivalent of giving birth. It’s long, painful, incredibly messy, it can take weeks of recuperation afterwards before you feel yourself again but, surprisingly, in the end, you’re prepared to go through it all that pain again next year. And of course you’ve got all that fabulous salça at the end of it all.
Well that day is here again and I was chomping at the bit to make our kırmızı biber salça. 200kg of kırmızı biber (red capsicum) ready to be transformed into salça by me, my SIL and her mother. Oh, and My Hurley Dog who assisted by chasing kediler (cats) and rolling in the mess until he was stained red. He is not happy right now and is well aware that a bath is in his immediate future.
Back to my story. 200kg of kırmızı biber is a lot of biber. My SIL called me down at 5 am, not to start work but to help make the ekmek (bread) for kahlvatı (breakfast). To me making the ekmek is more work than its actually worth. I’m happy to nick to the market and grab a couple of loafs of bread for 1TL each! After the ekmek we started on the salca and it was just freaking exhausting. Toiling away (before the real heat of mid-morning hits) with the cutting, cleaning, mulching (is it called mulching) before lugging buckets of biber salca up three flights of stairs and spreading it out in huge bowls to spend the next ten days in the sunshine (I swear if it rains!). Nine trips up those stairs today with two buckets each trip! FML!
The stairs are now stained red. My feet are stained red (blending nicely with my orange nail polish) and my hands are as red as my eyes. I’m exhausted. Time for a shower, a glass of red (same colour as my hands, my eyes, my dog and my stairs) and an early night (just like after I had a baby – well I didn’t have the glass of red but the rest stands true).
Quote of the day by my 7-year-old niece – “cok tatl” (“so cute”) upon finding a worm (or maybe a maggot) in one of the biber. Don’t be horrified by the idea of a worm/maggot in the biber. Anyone who has ever made salça is well aware that its luck of the draw with those massive bags of biber. Some are good, some are bad and sadly, some are rotten. Adds to the taste according to The Turk (although the worm/maggot in question did not form part of my salça I swear to you).
So, when I say next year that I am making salça someone point me to this post – and to the looney bin.
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