Cooking and eating as a family is a ritual in the daily life of Turkish families. Home cooking and eating as a family serve as the essential element for communications among the members of a family. Plans are made, hurt feelings are discussed and most importantly, family members express their interest and curiosity about each other’s lives over stuffed peppers. Preparing and serving food for extended families and friends are taken seriously and serve as indicators of respect and sincerity.

The article below is an excerpt from the essay “The Food Factory” written by Catherine Yiğit, an expat originally from Ireland, a wife, and a daughter-in-law of a Turkish family. The story takes us through an event of family cooking. Our author gets to try her hand in Turkish cooking as she assists her family with the preparation of dinner including the international favorite, stuffed grape leaves. The family is preparing for a visit from the family of a potential daughter-in-law and a bride for their youngest son. The complete essay was previously published in the book “Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey” (edited by Anastasia Ashman and Jennifer Gokmen,, a collection of many more delightful personal essays capturing Turkish living in the eyes of foreign women in Turkey. * Photo courtesy of Turkish Tourism Bureau.