Honey Stories

 

Well, honey, here are some stories. I have told some to the honey man at the farmer’s market, and it always surprises me that the various people there have not heard them.

Honey is used for a variety of purposes. For example, it is good for burns. It soothes the burn and helps it heal. My mother used to make hot lemon and honey for us when we had colds. It has many other uses, but mostly it just tastes good.

amphoraMost people have heard of honey being found in sealed amphora in ancient shipwrecks. Amazingly, the honey was still good.

I went to Kiev some years ago for a wedding and at one point a few of us were walking around a tourist hall where people were selling handmade items and other things, including honey. My friend was Turkish and in Turkey all the honey is liquid. The honey I bought was creamy. She told me it was not any good because it was not liquid. Actually, it was better because I could travel back to Turkey with it in my bag. Liquid honey would have been asking for a sticky situation. I was struck that she had probably never heard the ancient shipwreck story, even though parts of Turkey are actually ancient Greece, not to mention a host of other cultures. All of whom probably used honey.

rhodoIn fact in Turkey there are stories about the honey from a certain place on the Black Sea. In general the Karadeniz is known for its honey, as well as cheese, hazelnuts and tea. Apparently this honey is from rhododendron. It has a sort of hallucinogenic effect on those who eat the honey. I never tried any.

 

 

 

IMG_5022I learned to like comb honey (bal)  in Turkey. One spreads it on toast like regular honey, only it is a chewier. Some people suck the honey out to chew the wax. The last time I bought comb honey in Turkey, I bought it in this can. It cost about $30. Here the same amount would probably be three times that amount.

 

 

poison oakWhen I lived in rural Oregon, I sometimes went to a honey man way out in the undulating farmlands leading to the coastal range. He was probably in his 70s and had a younger indigenous wife. He had wildflower honey and also specialized in poison oak honey for loggers. Poison oak is an itchy undergrowth with yellow flowers. The bees would make honey from those flowers, but not very much of it. The honey man let me taste it– it was full of tannic acid so tasted like very sweet tea. He would not sell me any, however, as the loggers ate the honey to help build up resistance to the poison oak.

IMG_5019When I was growing up we ate clover honey. The creamy honey came in these honey cans. Now from the honey man I can get clover honey, buckwheat honey, and even blueberry honey, which does indeed have a hint of blueberry in its flavour. I can also get pollen and comb honey.

So, a few sweet stories for you about the not so mundane honey.

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Turkish Table Cloths

 

Actually, this is not about table cloths per se. Some years ago I owned a small apartment in Istanbul which I rented to a Kurdish Turkish man for a few months. Memet had had the idea of opening a carpet store that would also include village cloths. He had visited the villages in Erzurum, where he was from. He would arrive with machine made carpets and trade for small carpets and embroidered cloths. Among these were cloths that were originally used to hang in front of the shelves where clothes were kept. These cloths would keep the dust out and also decorate the space. Memet ultimately did not open a store and so he sold me some of the small carpets and the cloths at a very good price.

As an aside, Memet was a very interesting person. He was hard of hearing, but he spoke Kurdish, Turkish, German, English, Farsi, and Arabic. For that reason he often worked with film crews in the turbulent Southeast of Turkey, Iran, and Syria. One time he arrived at my cafe with a film crew. They were doing what they called a love story. A young Peace Corps volunteer in Iran had had an affair with a young Iranian man, a dangerous proposition in rural areas, as homosexuality was forbidden. However, Memet told me that the young Iranian man had basically been seduced by the Peace Corps guy, so it was not actually a love story.

Since the cloths had mostly been nailed to the shelves, they were a little damaged. I hemmed them all and started to use them as table cloths. These were especially useful in my cafe. I also use a few of them as curtains with those little clip on rings.

 

I love the fact that these have unknown stories with them. I think some were made by very young girls. One has her name on it and she has also embroidered ‘kadesim Memet’ — Memet is my brother.

Another says ‘yapan S’.

Some are done on embroidery cloth and others are done on old sheets. Some of them were probably done from patterns and a few are original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lace of varying quality is sewn onto some of  them and others are bordered with an embroidered strip. One has a rust stain and one has a small blob of industrial green paint on it, which  makes them think of someone paining a green room. I think some of these were done for a hope chest and I am sure all of them were used. These people were poor mountain folks and I am sure they used everything they could.

 

Some of these are for sale if they strike your fancy. I have a lot and I certainly don’t need them all. My stories with them are short and I hope others enjoy the colours and the work as much as I do.