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Yes, since you can’t write a sin­gle word in this crazy coun­try with­out falling under the pre­scrip­tion of a decree, let’s say my can­dle has burned down.

I should take advan­tage of this to give you the recipe for cook­ing pilav. Appar­ent­ly, I have a read­er who needs it.

But even there, depend­ing on whether I give you Ana­to­lian ver­sions or those from Bakur, I’ll be accused of attempt­ing to the uni­ty of nation­al gas­tron­o­my.

You don’t fool around with things like that.

Our writ­ers are in prison, so are our best jour­nal­ists. This way, the one does a reportage on the oth­er, in the inti­ma­cy of the cells. Enough to fill the columns of lit­er­ary mag­a­zines for years. Appar­ent­ly, their lawyers no longer need to move around in order to vis­it them, since lodg­ings are also pro­vid­ed for them. No doubt attract­ed by the light, polit­i­cal men and women have gone to join them.

The pris­ons turn into minia­ture lit­tle Turkeys where cohab­it all social class­es, all pro­fes­sions, all the unem­ployed, both men and women.

So, as I was say­ing, noth­ing hap­pened this week. The snow was white, then black as usu­al, so as not to offend any­one and also per­haps a bit because of the soot com­ing from abroad, just so as to mess with our fine nation­al una­nim­i­ty.

Par­lia­ment par­lia­ment­ed, then vot­ed, in a fine nation­al and demo­c­ra­t­ic surge. They were so excit­ed at the thought of mod­i­fy­ing our beau­ti­ful con­sti­tu­tion that, while mak­ing wide whirling move­ments with their arms, they unwit­tling­ly sent a woman deputy of the HDP to the hos­pi­tal. Were also miss­ing a few deputies, detained else­where along with the jour­nal­ists who had giv­en them an appoint­ment in their lit­tle Turkey. But I’ve already talked about them.

A few hun­dred agreed among them­selves to keep their jobs and hence­forth, to dimin­ish their work­load since it will be trans­ferred to the Palace where gov­ern­ment will pro­ceed by decree. They even vot­ed finan­cial sav­ings for the Nation by decid­ing on the prin­ci­ple of sup­press­ing the role of prime min­is­ter. After all, a Pres­i­dent is enough, non? They won’t even have to vote anew on the state of emer­gency, since it is now per­ma­nent. And in, any event, they will have enough to occu­py their man­date by dis­cussing the low­er­ing of the age of sex­u­al major­i­ty and the num­ber of chil­dren per woman. So, apart from this slight change in the con­sti­tu­tion, for which we will demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly be asked our opin­ion, the week was qui­et.

Yes, of course, there were the usu­al meet­ings of macon­tents or of non-Turks, but that can’t be helped… Oh, I almost for­got. You remem­ber the record store Vel­vet IndieGround in down­town Istan­bul. It has been closed per­ma­nent­ly. Things are get­ting hard for small shop keep­ers.

Oh yes, they arrest­ed the Reina assas­sin… A ter­ror­ist, we knew that already. But what is sur­pris­ing is that he isn’t like thou­sands of oth­ers. You could also be a teror­ist with­out being a writer or a jour­nal­ist? And not even a meme­ber of FETÖ either! They’ve uncov­ered a mutant… The occa­sion gave us the oppor­tu­ni­ty of appre­ci­at­ing the phys­i­cal effi­cien­cy of our police, at the sight of the pho­tos… Apart from this, there’s noth­ing to add.

No, real­ly, our head of the Palace is right. “O World, O Europe? Why do you want to give Turkey lessons?”

All right, the pilav is cooked, I’m off to set the table. I’m hav­ing Putin for dinner.


say pilav



You will need but­ter, rice, water, salt and pep­per. Bas­mati rice works well but you can try with oth­er vari­eties.

Choose a water glass. It will serve as your mea­sur­ing cup. As we are two for the meal this evening, I’m pro­vid­ing quan­ti­ties for two peo­ple. If you’re orga­niz­ing a sum­mit, mul­ti­ply quan­ti­ties accord­ing­ly.

Pour 1 glass­ful of rice into a bowl. Add salt and boil­ing water. Let the rice soak for 10 min­utes. This will elim­i­nate some of the starch so that once your pilav is cooked, “each grain of rice can be autonomous” as my grand­moth­er used to say. In oth­er words, so your pilav won’t stick… After ten min­utes, pour out the water and rinse your rice sev­er­al times under run­ning water, until it runs clear.

Melt the but­ter in a non-stick saucepan – about two table­spoons, for instance… Of course, this depends on your own taste. Melt­ed but­ter in the bot­tom of the pan per­fumes bet­ter than but­ter made to melt in the rice, once cooked. You can also use olive oil instead of but­ter.

If you want to gussy up your pilav, you can use your imag­i­na­tion at this point. For exam­ple, you can add a hand­full of angel hair pas­ta, or almonds or pine nuts for a deluxe ver­sion. You let them brown a bit over low heat in the melt­ed but­ter. Once they are gold­en, you add your rice.

Imme­di­ate­ly pour in the water. How much? For one glass of rice, 1,5 glass­es of water, my child.

You leave over a high heat, but keep­ing an eye on the pro­ceed­ings. Wait for the moment when you will start to see “eyes on the sur­face”. Yes, I know, you’re won­der­ing what I’m talk­ing about. Well, “don’t wor­ry, when the eyes will show up, you will know” my grand­moth­er said when I pre­pared my first pilav. And she was right. So when your rice starts giv­ing you the eye, the time has come to remove from high heat and to set it, cov­ered, on the low­est heat pos­si­ble. This is the time to add salt and pep­per.

The rice will absorb all the water and your pilav will be ready in approx­i­mate­ly 10 min­utes. Give a look from time to time to make sure it does­n’t burn on the bot­tom. You can also stir for a look. But don’t over­do it, so as not to let all the steam escape all the time.

When you remove the lid say­ing “it must be ready now”, and you see that it is indeed ready, this means your tim­ing is excel­lent and the grains are “autonomous”; you now have your pilav diplo­ma. No more argu­ments over messed up rice at the table.

Trans­la­tion by Renée Lucie Bourges –

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