Skip to content

Turkish Delight – Republic of Elyssia National Dish – Day 77/Dish 43

April 1, 2010

Hello adventurers!  Costa Rica is a unique country that is setting a fine example in a troubled planet.  Our next country is even more interesting if that is possible.

The Republic of Elysia is located in the Pacific Ocean somewhat southwest of the Hawaiian Islands.  The challenge in getting to this beautiful island oasis is that it is only visible at certain times each season when the immense tides of the Pacific are at their lowest.  In fact Elyssia is only inhabited part time.  Polynesian islanders travel to this island to commune with the spirits and practice uninhibited feasting and lovemaking.

Since the islands are only visible occasionally, very few written records exist of its customs and traditions.  But what we do know is the following.

Elyssia has no central government.  There is a traditional Master of Ceremonies who presides over the arrangements during feasting and is chosen every 11 years from amongst the most worthy islanders.  The “Gurugathoman” is picked from either male or female islanders based on three qualities.

1. Beauty – Islanders blend an incredibly unique mixture of Polynesian, Asian, Arabic and European bloodlines and are said to be able to enchant with their eyes and soft skin and hair.

2. Hunger – Feasting is a 24 hour process in Elyssia and the leader is expected to attend every function and eat heartily or lose face and be removed as leader.

3. Creativity – Whether making love, dancing, building ornate sculptures from debris on the porcelain beaches or simply choosing which prayer to offer to the spirits, the Gurugathoman is expected to be a leader with vision and to let no detail go overlooked.  Most former Gurus express sad remorse and also happiness at being unburdened after shedding the traditional headdress and the duties which it brings.

There are no real laws in Elyssia.  The entire tribe regulates behavior and anyone found to grossly violate the basic tenets of respect and love are barred from attending the next season.  Multiple infractions result in permanent banishment.

No murders have ever occurred here.  This is the only place on earth to claim this honor.  The sanctity of the spirit of Elyssia is respected at all times and any violence is believed to carry the risk of upsetting the spirits and is strictly prohibited.   

There is no economy and no debt.  There are no political parties, only brotherhood.  There are no ideologies other than respect.  There is 0% pollution as all debris is reverently removed upon departure.  No wars have ever been fought here.  No person of any background is barred from participating in the tribe for any reason except those found by the group to lack respect.  Since everyone arrives nude and brings nothing but food, there are no possessions and no territorial disputes.

Every season the Gurugathoman stays till the final moments as the islands recede back beneath the waves of the Pacific in a ritual of cleansing and resting.  It is as if they tuck the island spirits into a soft bed and whisper words of goodnight and Mahalo.

The national dish of Elyssia is Turkish Delight or Lokum.  Made from Starch and Sugar these soft taffylike candies are adored by every “citizen” of Elyssia.  Packed in special watertight containers woven from palm fronds, they are reverently brought each season and are ceremonially honored in a welcoming ritual oddly similar to the Eucharist.  The Guru sings words of blessing over the stacks of Lokum and loving places one in the mouth of every citizen heartily embraces each person and wishes them good fortune.  Then the festivities begin.

Rating:

Appearance: 5 out of 5

Aroma: 5 out of 5

Flavor: 6 out of 5

Total: an incredible 16 out of 15 (is that even possible?)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • Vegetable oil or shortening

Preparation:

In a 9 inch baking pan, grease the sides and bottom with vegetable oil or shortening. Line with wax paper and grease the wax paper.

In a saucepan, combine lemon juice, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water on medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine cream of tartar, 1 cup corn starch and remaining water in saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all lumps are gone and the mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring when the mixture has a glue like consistency.

Stir in the lemon juice, water and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, Allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Once the mixture has become a golden color, stir in rosewater. Pour mixture into wax paper lined pan. Spread evenly and allow to cool overnight.

Once it has cooled overnight, sift together confectioners sugar and remaining cornstarch.

Turn over baking pan containing Turkish delight onto clean counter or table and cut with oiled knife into one inch pieces.

Coat with confectioners sugar mixture. Serve or store in airtight container in layers separated with wax or parchment paper.

http://mideastfood.about.com/od/dessertssweetspastries/r/turkishdelight.htm

Happy April First.

Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. G. Scott Ackerson permalink
    April 1, 2010 5:42 pm

    Eric – Nice post, even though I don’t usually enjoy chewy candy. I thought for awhile that I was having an “Elysian Dream”. Happy April 1st to you too! DAD

    • April 1, 2010 6:23 pm

      Hah You were my 200th comment! Thanks! And yeah the name of the country was certainly inspired by my musical past!

      Cheers..>Eric

  2. April 4, 2010 9:57 am

    I love these. This is eaten in Iran too. These taste even better with pistachios embedded in them, as they do in Turkey.

    And these are lovely when enrobed in milk or dark chocolate. Try it next time. I usually do this during the Xmas season.

    Your blog’s concept is very interesting. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: