Friday, December 28, 2012

A zest for good food and quality journalism

Steam rose from the two heavy pots perched on top of twin cooking-gas cylinders, the scent of orange peels and apples wafting through the crisp morning air at Istanbul’s first organic farmers market.

At that moment, the aromatic contents resembled soup, or even mulled wine, but as the hours passed, they would jell into a pudding called
aşure, a dish seen by some as the epitome of the Turkish “melting pot” ...

With my latest article, about the Turkish dessert aşure, I joined the contributors' team at Zester Daily, an award-winning online destination for food, wine, and travel journalism. I'll be writing for them at least once a month about culinary culture in Istanbul, Turkey, and wherever else I roam.

Founded three years ago by former L.A. Times writer Corie Brown, Zester seeks to "promote spirited, intelligent dialogue about what we eat and drink." Corie's commitment to an international focus, to professional writing, and to creating new models for funding journalism at a time when all three often seem to be in short supply have me excited to be on board.

Read the rest of my article, "A Pudding for All That Comes From Turkey’s Melting Pot," on Zester Daily.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tales of a TreeHugger

For the past four years, I've been writing for TreeHugger.com as the popular green website's Istanbul correspondent, blogging about environmental issues primarily in Turkey and the region, but also elsewhere in the world, following my interests in art, food, travel, urban planning, and other topics.

Blogging for TreeHugger provided an excuse to contact and meet all sorts of fascinating people; the opportunity to cover events such as the 5th World Water Forum and the London School of Economics' Urban Age conference; and the chance to raise the profile of places I care about -- Istanbul, of course, but also Beirut, which I fell in love with on a 2010 visit, and Lake Urmia in Iran, where my grandfather originated and where I hope to travel someday. (It also let me occasionally indulge my nostalgia for San Francisco and baseball.) One of my posts got picked up by the popular tech site Boing Boing, while another led to an assignment for BBC Wildlife magazine.

Now, 656 blog posts later, I'm moving on due to some changes at the site. I've already wrapped up a baker's dozen worth of my favorite posts related to Turkey for my personal blog, The Turkish Life. Here's an assortment of 10 more stories on other topics that I enjoyed writing for TreeHugger.com:
You can find my full archive of TreeHugger posts (for now, at least) on my contributor page.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Istanbul's sweet spots

From warm, gooey künefe to chocolate-slathered profiteroles to candied walnuts topped with cream, Istanbul's eateries offer plenty of ways to satisfy the biggest sweet tooth. For the latest issue of SHOP Istanbul's Style Edition, I profiled a top-notch selection of the city's sweet shops, both storied patisseries and gourmet up-and-comers introducing new flavors to the Turkish palate.

Read "Sweet Thing" online or download a pdf version of the article as it appeared in SHOP Istanbul's Autumn/Winter 2012 issue.