Saturday, May 2, 2015

Durumlu Marul and Uncle Paul

Marash Girl never buys iceberg lettuce, not since the word was out that the darker and more bitter lettuces are  better for you.  Sometimes she cheats and uses Romaine Lettuce, but nothing is as wonderful as iceberg lettuce, good and crunchy.  (Marash Girl's son's favorite treat at Not Your Average Joe's used to be a big wedge of iceberg lettuce with their special dressing -- almost as good as dessert!)

Growing up, Marash Girl doesn't seem to remember any other offering BUT iceberg lettuce -- or was it her mother's favorite as it is hers. . . Grandma Jennie would offer delicious salata made of sliced  tomatoes and cucumbers (both fresh from Grandpa Peter's garden if it was summertime) with chunked iceberg lettuce and freshly chopped mint. On occasion, Marash Martha decided to offer a salad that the family had never tasted before:  iceberg lettuce, freshly chopped apples (from the apple trees in the back yard), and freshly chopped walnuts (NOT from the walnut trees in the back yard -- the squirrels always managed to get those nuts the night before Grandpa Peter  and Uncle Paul were about to harvest them). 

Marash Girl can't remember what either of Grandma Jennie or Marash Martha used for salad dressing; she remembers the first time her mother served romaine lettuce, though. That time and ever thereafter, whenever her mother served romaine lettuce, her father started chanting, "Durumlu Marul, Dumumlu Marul".  What was that all about?  He soon regaled the family with the story of Uncle Paul, who as a young boy in Marash, would walk through the streets of Kumbet chanting "Durumlu Marul, Durumlu Msarul", and carrying a basket of Durumlu Maral over his head, hoping to sell the heads of romaine lettuce one by one to the ladies of the houses in their neighborhood in Marash, Ottoman Empire.  As Paul was still young enough to be considered a child, but old enough to carry the basket over his head, the Muslim women could freely purchase from him, as he was not yet a man!


Post a Comment