My family is from a small city named Mersin, in Turkey, a hot city with lots of buildings which makes it feel more crowded than it really is. As a kid visiting my great-grandfather’s house over the summer I remember restaurant on the bottom floor. It was a makeshift little store that made a delicious meat wrap called Tantuni, a lamb stir fry surrounded with different spices with onions and tomatoes. It’s wrapped in a freshly rolled piece of lavash bread that has been toasted over a hot coal fire. This was their specialty and the smell of it grabbed any passerby's attention. During the afternoons when my parents would go out, I would head downstairs and visit the store owner. My father was very close with him, they were like brothers. He knew me since I was a baby. On his slow days I would talk to him about how things were back then and as we would talk out of nowhere he would make me a Tantuni. He would make me and himself one and then we would go out front and sit on the steps waiting for my parents to get back home. A few weeks after we arrived in the United States, my father surprised us by making Tantuni. Biting into it brought back so many memories. The way my father makes it tastes so much similar to the ones I had in Mersin. I asked him about it and found out that he learned how to make it from the store owner. Mersin is the city it was made in and that’s where I’m from, not one person outside of Mersin can create the same taste that’s made by the locals.

Year: 2010

– Furkan

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