I have a confession.
You may not understand it. You may not agree with it. You may not like it.
But my heart no longer resides in America.
I was born here. I was raised here. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else.
And I still love America fiercely.
But my heart lives in Turkey.
It is where I long to be.
Among the fishing boats moored along the Aegean coast of Izmir.
On the beaches of Antalya where the warm white sands slip into the cool blue Mediterranean Sea.
In the bazaars of Istanbul, lost among the infinite display of color and sound and smell.
I miss the people. The Turkish coffee shops. The restaurants.
I miss the food – the fresh cuisine of a country unspoiled by preservatives and chemicals and poison-peddling food lobbies that line the pockets of politicians at the expense of its people’s health.
Every time we visit Turkey, my blood pressure lowers without medication. I sleep through the night. My heart stops palpitating, and the nervous tick that afflicts my face in this country disappears.
I credit these small miracles to the Mediterranean way of life and the Mediterranean diet in particular. Fish, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, nuts, local meat, rice and fresh bread. When I’m in Turkey, I don’t eat many sweets. My body doesn’t want them.
Instead I eat fruit.
Watermelon, grapes and maybe some sour cherry preserves with breakfast, along with white cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and bread.
And figs, grapes, apricots, pears, and plums after dinner.
Handan and I love the fruit of a Mediterranean summer, and so we decided to make some summer fruit botanical printables to share with our VIP readers.
Fresh figs! Have you ever had one? I had my first when I lived in San Francisco. Until then, I thought figs were the crap inside a Fig Newton bar. Fresh figs are nothing like that sweetened, oxidized goop! They are soft and delicate and bursting with the sweetest nectar. This is why they can’t be shipped fresh very far. They are fleeting things that must be consumed shortly after picking. Dried figs just can’t compare.
Cherries are a favorite around here. Barish loves them, especially! We have two cherry trees now – one black and one bing. I can’t wait until they start to give a good yield of fruit!
When Handan first moved here, she was horrified at what American
chemical manufacturers food companies call “cherry flavor.” It tastes nothing like a real cherry. I wonder how many kids out there have never had a real cherry to compare to the bright red artificial “cherry?”
Plums are a childhood favorite of mine. I loved hunting for the perfect specimen: red and sweet inside but still firm enough to bite without it collapsing. Turks love plums, too, and they even have a type they eat green and unripe. They are really sour but delicious when dipped in salt.
Pears are Handan’s favorite (along with figs). They are sometimes baked into desserts in Turkey, but Handan just loves them raw. She doesn’t understand how Americans seem to prefer apples over pears. For her, the choice is always pear!
Can you think of Mediterranean cuisine without grapes? Whether it be grapes in a vineyard grown for wine or table grapes alongside some local cheese, grapes are ubiquitous in Turkey and the surrounding countries.
Here’s a fruit that’ll throw you for a loop: the almond. Yeah, yeah, I know, to you it’s just a nut. But on the tree, that nut is surrounded by a fruit, just like a peach. Here in America, our food overlords throw away that fruit and just offer us the nut. But Turks love to eat that fruit with salt, just like the sour plum. They also eat the nuts, of course! And they should know best. After all, the almond is indigenous to Turkey.
Okay, you’ve seen 6 of the 9 summer fruit printables we’ve made for you. The other 3 are in the picture below: peach, sour cherry and apricot.
The sour cherry is beloved in Turkey. It is juiced, it is made into preserves and it is eaten whole from the tree. Of all the cherries, it has the best and most interesting flavor. Sadly, it is a hard flavor to find in this country.
We all know dried apricots – probably even dried Turkish apricots. As far as apricots go, the Turks grow the best in the world. But like the fig, the apricot can’t travel far when fresh, so it must be preserved by drying. Of course, that process changes the taste entirely, so the dried apricot is nothing like its fresh brethren.
Someday you may go to Turkey. When you do, you will eat fresh apricots and fresh figs and a hundred other fresh local foods that will awaken your senses and make you understand the beauty and importance of real food, untouched by corporations and chemicals.
Before I go, let me give you the usual information on today’s printables: we designed these 9 vintage botanical prints to fit into a 16×20 inch frame or a 24×36 poster frame, though you may scale them up or down as necessary. 24×36 inch scales down easily to 20×30 / 16×24 / 12×18 / 8×12 / 4×6 inches, and 16×20 inch scales down to 12×15 / 8×10 / 4×5 inches with no problems. If you need help with scaling down these printables so you can print them using your home printer, then make sure you check out Handan’s “How To Easily Resize Pictures” post.
Also, if you don’t have a large format printer like Canon i8720 Printer (prints up to 13×19 inches) and are wondering the best place to get these printables printed bigger than 8×12, we recommend trying Staples in your area or Amazon print shop. Both stores offer custom-sized prints on matte or glossy paper and they both cost about the same. Staples also offers Engineering Prints, which are really affordable for large-format prints, but in some areas (like ours), they must be ordered from their online print shop.
Now it’s time to click on the button below to download today’s free summer fruit printables – they are all in the Vintage Illustrations section of The VIP Patch.
If you’re not a Navage Patch VIP, you won’t be able to access our Freebies Library. But that can be easily fixed! Subscribe for free on the form below and become a Navage Patch VIP. Once you subscribe, a password will be sent to you in our Welcome e-mail, and that will give you access to The VIP Patch [Freebies Library].
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