I’ve been living in Istanbul for a year, and my experience with its cuisine has ranged from bemused confusion to anthropological fascination.
There’s pizza with ketchup and mayo, fries inside baked potatoes.
I’ll never forget choco-doner, true to its name: a rotating hunk of chocolate on a spit shaved and served on a crepe.
Just like layered clothing worn on cold winter days, Swedish design borrows from a layering concept where each piece serves as a building block that can be mixed and matched with other design elements.
This not only keeps each element simple and minimalist, but it also makes it practical because each piece can stand on its own as well as work within a larger framework.
This building-block concept is why IKEA remains a popular brand worldwide.
It is also reflected in a classic Swedish breakfast spread.
The two building blocks are slices of a carbohydrate such as crisp bread or multigrain bread, and dairy such as a bowl of vanilla yogurt or, more commonly, (“fil”).
Fil is made from fermented milk, has a runnier consistency than yogurt, and is much more sour.
From these basic elements, the breakfast is built up: bread is topped with everything from slices of cheese, cold cuts like ham, and bell peppers to liver pâté, sweet dill pickles, and boiled eggs with cheap caviar squeezed out of a tube.
The dairy is usually topped with muesli and fresh berries.
And, of course, a mug of strong coffee is mandatory.
Thankfully, breakfast is easier to assemble than a typical IKEA purchase.
“Turkish food is a disaster,” an innkeeper in Bethlehem once told me.