Storytelling: On the flowing stream

What does it mean to be a storyteller? My lecturers discussed this a million times over the four years of my undergrad career. I call it a ‘career’ because I have been creating stories ever since I was eight, if not even earlier. Do you mind taking a walk with me through the memory lane? Even though I look like I’d prefer being alone while I do this, I still think I need company today.

I love bedtime stories, and I would use all of my little power to stay awake through those. Luckily, my dad had a million stories to tell. Every time he started a new story, he would reassure me saying that it is a really old tale and he is not making it up, because why would he? I would get mad at him because, after two or three years of hearing a new story every night, I think I was somehow too smart for a six-year-old, and I realized that they all told me the same thing over and over again: “You can explore, but listen to your parents when they warn you, or else you’ll get in trouble”. Oh, and no love interests, mom and dad will save you, there is no prince charming here!

But my dad was a professional. “Dad you are not making this up, right?”, “No, this was absolutely real”. The little black sheepdog always wondered what happened outside the farm. One day he decides to take a long walk, jumps across the fences and explores the endless fields. It suddenly starts getting darker, he is scared, and he hears a pack of big bad wolves howling. They get closer and form a circle around him, the little sheepdog is scared. His parents come and save him, later, getting mad at him a little bit but hugging him tight still. Dad, I miss your stories. I know you didn’t make any of them up.

If you thought my dad was an okay storyteller. Let me tell you about his mom, my grandma. Whatever she tells you, you are ought to believe her. She always had something in her voice that would make you feel like she is pulling you deep into this thought bubble that is inside her two hands. She was a magician playing with her words, and a bit of a witch, I am never sure if her hands are telling the story or casting a spell.

Oddly enough, her story never changed because she only had one. Her mother was adopted, had a very tough childhood but grew older to be a loving mother to my grandma. But this loving mother died too soon. I have seen my grandma pulling out a small photo of her mother from the very last drawer full of tablecloths, that is a part of an 80 some year-old dark brown wooden cabinet. Every time she pulled out the picture, she would blame herself for forgetting what her mother’s face looked like. She says she needs the picture to remember. I bet it hurts.

You remember the stream, dear? —  In the old town, it’s by our old home. – How can you not remember? – Well, I’ll take you there when we go. Oh, dear! – It was night time, very late. Maybe after 11 or 12. We had to sail through the river, so mom put me and my sister in a small wooden boat. And she was rowing and rowing. Oh! All of a sudden! – We saw a light from deep down. Oh, it was beautiful. It was shining and so bright that it hurt our eyes. My sister was younger, you know. And mom said to put our heads down. We put our heads down, but I peeked out on the side, mom didn’t see. Oh, it was so beautiful. A woman, she had ginger hair. It was so long. Her hair was like Leipzig silk! She was shining. She swam next to our small boat. Was it ever beautiful? – No, no. She didn’t hurt us or anything.

Then, what happened? We got off the boat and went home, but it was beautiful. I never told mom that I saw it!

But you are not lying? Right? How can you see it in the old town? Like here? Is it true?Maybe, I was dreaming, I don’t know. I was young. (She would shrug off her shoulders and move on with her life at this point, after charming me with the story. It was so cruel because I would think about it all night until I finally fell asleep).

There are things I wish I could remember better lately, and my mind won’t let me. But, can’t we all tell stories? All of the stories I heard, had a bit of those people that touched the narrator. And, no, my great grandma is not made up, but loving and gentle, just like in grandma’s story.

Dogs can talk, and mermaids are real – if only you believe.

 

Photo Credits: http://kopriyet.blogspot.com/2016/05/kirmasti-koprusu.html

Food for Thought: The Lazy Chef’s Table

Happy Sunday! I hope I am not the only one that directly associates Sunday’s with an early morning light creeping from the nonfunctional blinds, reading and herbal tea (potentially in bed). Doesn’t it sound beautiful? For that reason, I am not one for hating Mondays, weekends just do a good job with calming me down.

Vancouver was supposed to get a major snowfall this morning, but the mother nature must have decided to postpone it, as my iPhone would agree. With the possibilities of getting snow gone, my plans for the day didn’t change: I’ll be reading for an upcoming media criticism project (in various places probably), and I’ll need to take breaks.

Break numero uno, with the courtesy of a hobby of mine: Cooking (and eating). Here are a couple of recipes I have developed, learned, or read online and made my staple. For my college student friends that have no time, I hope this comes as an inspiration.

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The “I can’t believe I like salad” Salad

I was introduced to this recipe by a close family member when she came to visit us in Canada, she gets a huge thank you for making me enjoy a salad for the first time.

Ingredients

Chopped Kale/Spinach

Chopped cabbage

Shredded carrots

(OR Pre-packaged greens of choice)

Boiled or canned chickpeas

3-4 dates

3 slices of feta cheese

Walnuts

Dressing: ½ lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil

(I personally don’t use the oil as cheese does the job for me)

Instructions:

  1. If you are boiling your own chickpeas: Soak chickpeas in hot water and a dash of salt overnight. Next morning, boil them for about 15-20 minutes and drain the chickpeas. Voila, use them in wraps, salads, or on top of rice.
  2. Put chopped vegetables in a large bowl as your base, put in your chickpeas, and dressing. Mix them all.
  3. Chop 3-4 dates and feta cheese in small pieces, crush the walnuts with your hands, add them on top.
  4. Enjoy, and get ready to say, “I can’t believe I like salad”, now.

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Peas and chicken in a pot (Serving: 4)

 Ingredients

1 tsp of Powdered ginger

1 tbsp of Salt

1 tbsp of pepper

1 tbsp garlic

2 tbsp Coconut oil

Chopped (3) chicken breasts

Frozen green peas

1-2 tbsp of tomato paste

Instructions:

  1. Put chicken breasts in a pot, add enough water to cover it at the same level. Bring the chopped chicken breasts to boil for about 5 mins, drain the chicken and keep the broth.
  2. Put the chicken, frozen peas, tomato paste and desired amount of broth in the pot. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil and spices to the pot. Turn off the heat and let the dish simmer for 5 more minutes.

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Moroccan Egg-Fried Couscous (Serving: 2)

Unlike all the other recipes that were subject to trial and error, this one is one that I found online recently and loved it. Give it a try!

Ingredients

1/2 package of couscous

1 cup frozen mix vegetables/or snap peas (or as desired)

1 tbsp coconut oil

4 eggs

Spices:

1 tbsp curry

1 tbsp chili

1 tbsp garlic

A dash of salt

Instructions:

  1. Boil ½ package of couscous in water for 8 minutes (as if you are making pasta). Drain the couscous.
  2. Take a pan and melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add all of your spices now (this is a golden trick that makes the food absorb spices better).
  3. Add the couscous and frozen veggies, fry them until veggies become soft.
  4. Form an empty hole in the middle of the pan, pour your eggs and start mixing them with the rest of the stuff in the pan slowly.
  5. Fry everything until eggs make the couscous look browner.
  6. Enjoy! I can already feel it smells great. Yum.

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Cinn-Apple-and-Oat Cake (Serving: 4-6/Small Portions)

Ingredients:

1 whole chopped apple

1 cup oats

2 tbsp whole-wheat flour

1 cup applesauce

½ cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp olive oil

4-5 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon (or as desired)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Put a tiny bit of olive oil to the baking dish and make sure to spread it evenly so the mixture doesn’t stick later on.
  2. Chop a whole apple and microwave it for 1 minute.
  3. Take a bowl and stir together the oats, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, olive oil, and coconut sugar.
  4. Add in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven. Voila!

 

Let me know if you try the recipes, or have any suggestions for me to try. Happy Sunday!

Hazal