CONTRIBUTED BY REBECCA WILLIAMS
In my two years at Incirlik I never quite warmed up to the idea of “off base”. I have been off base – I’ve climbed Anavarza with the best of them, I’ve toured the Hagia Sophia, I’ve basked in the history of Ephesus (and the July sun), and I’ve even been to watch a movie or two at the Optimum. However, I buy my groceries from the commissary, my appliances from the BX, and use Amazon for everything else. Adventurous I am not.
So, when my friend India invited me to go to the firin with her, my mind frantically tried to recall something I had to do on Tuesday morning that would prevent my leaving the gate. While India was excitedly explaining that the firin will, “Bake ANYTHING YOU TAKE into a pita for ONE lira!”, I was racking my brain; surely I had to go grocery shopping, or maybe a meeting? A playdate? But, alas! Nothing. I was completely free. I was PCSing and all of my commitments had been transferred or completed. Silently, I cursed my efficiency, and I accepted India’s invitation with an, “I’ll bring apples!”
On Monday evening, I sliced up a few apples and sprinkled them with raw sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg, then put them in a container to sit overnight. When I climbed into India’s van with my 14 year old and his friend the next morning, she had a carton of eggs, sausage, and some shredded cheese. We had a vehicle full of flavor, and I was beginning to look forward to this mini-adventure that would end in hot apple-pie pita!
We left the gate area and drove into the alley. India explained that there are four firins in the village and all provide the same services for the same price.
You can purchase plain pita (a long boat shaped flat bread), or you can take the ingredients you’d like baked into a pita and they will let you prepare the “boat” and will bake it for you. We parked across the street from the bakery and walked to a non descript doorway where we were greeted with the hospitality that comes from a family owned business. Inside the firin was a giant wood-fired brick oven – and not room for much else.
India put the teenagers to work preparing the meat and cheese pitas, and when the breads were ready, the baker cracked an egg and sprinkled it over top before he slid them into the oven.
Just about three minutes later he pulled them out and they smelled AMAZING! When the boys were done, it was my turn to create the apple pie pitas! Again, just a few minutes later and the smell of cinnamon wafted from the oven.
We piled our pitas high on a cookie sheet India had brought along and walked next door to the bakery to enjoy our feast with a cup of cay while watching the morning bustle of the villagers.
I was pondering my upcoming last week in Turkey, when India looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, “Have you ever been to the Ladies Market?”
To Bring: Any toppings you want, a baking sheet to carry your food home (or go to firin #1 & then order drinks & sit at the bakery next door),
Hours: Most locations are open 0600-1400, 1600-2000 – 7 days a week
Address & Coordinates:
Firin #1: Okul Sk. 01340 Yüreğir/Adana Turkey — 36.988259, 35.436061 (map below)
Firin #2: İstasyon Cd. No:85 01340 Yüreğir/Adana Turkey — 36.987982, 35.437856
Firin #3: Atatürk Cd. 01340 Yüreğir/Adana Turkey — 36.993008, 35.439716
Firin #4: Atatürk Cd. 01340 Yüreğir/Adana Turkey — 36.993360, 35.437738