If It Tastes Like Pepper, Ya Better Fo’get Her

Turkey has some real strange old customs, that they only got rid of like 15 years ago. But the strangest one our guide told us in Cappadocia is the custom they had for marriage. Our group went into a room in a fairy chimney house that was used by the villagers only 10 years before. He started talking and then offered everyone tea. The tea was pretty expensive, but if you wanted to stay inside and listen you felt like you had to buy it. So most of the group left including Mom, Asher, and Kieran, but Kieran and Asher came back inside when they found out that we were all having apple tea. Before we drank our apple tea, the guide told us of how villagers used to get married. It’s pretty interesting, so here it is.

The fairy chimney houses Guide telling us about local mairage customsDax, Tom and McKane getting apple tea, picture taken by Kieran

It all starts with getting to know all the boys in big meetings where they all drink tea and bond with each other. Wait a second, what the heck am I talking about? The girls and boys used to only *see* each-other (not talk), when they would go down to the well and get water for the house. There was no such thing as a free moment when the teenagers could bond with each other. They had to work all day; the men had to farm, and the girls would cook and make rugs. So how on earth did they decide they wanted to get married? Well, it starts with the girl. If she wants to get married, when she finishes her rug that she’s been making, she’ll hang it out the window. That tells all the young men that she’s ready to get married. Now if a young man was interested in a girl, he wouldn’t simply tell his family, “I want to get married to so and so. ” No, one night at dinner, he’d stick his spoon straight up in his cous cous. The whole family would get the message, and the old person of the house, like the grandma or grandpa, would go in a room and talk to the boy and see who he wanted to marry.

When the discussion was finished between the young and the old, the old would go out to the girl’s family and arrange a meeting between the families. When it reached the date of the family meeting, both the families would get together at the girl’s house. Because coffee is the drink of friendship, that is what they all would drink for the meeting. When all the coffees were made except for the boy’s, the girl would go into the kitchen and makes his. If she wanted to get married to him, she would put sugar in the coffee, if not, then she would put salt or pepper into it, if not both. When the boy took a sip, his family elder could see in his eyes what was in it. If the antiquated one got up, the rest of the boy’s family would also get up and leave. This meant that there was salt or pepper in the coffee. If the boy and the senior citizen stayed put, then there was sugar in the coffee, and the families could start planning the wedding.

This may not be all correct. I’m just typing this from memory, so if you find a mistake or anything, then please leave a comment and tell me what I did wrong. Now on with the post. After the guide told us about the custom, the shop owner brought out our apple tea and his coffee. The guide tasted it and said ” Dang, not again!” He told us that in his youth, he tasted salt three times before he tasted sugar. Then I think the funniest thing happened: an old lady (I think the one mentioned in my mom’s post) said that the old man next to him had sugar in his coffee. The look on his little surprised face was priceless. I still have a photographic memory of his face. That made the guide laugh, and he said, “Hey, the woman of the house likes you!” Just thinking of the old man’s face is making me laugh. Woo-wee! Well, I guess this ended up being another short one. I’m going to try and do something different next week for my post. Hey, maybe a poem!

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2 thoughts on “If It Tastes Like Pepper, Ya Better Fo’get Her

  1. Mac I enjoyed your post. I liked how many different words you used for “old” – you are so clever!


  2. McKane,
    After reading your post, i thought you were lucky to get out of there without a wife! I’m sure there is some homely Turkish girl that a dad would love to hook up with an American boy.

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