America, Land of Free Sparkling Ice Water

America, Land of Free Sparkling Ice Water 
Winston-Salem Journal, s. 6 
Rahşan Ecevit Arşivi 
America, Land of Free Sparkling Ice Water


Journal and Sentinel Guest Writer From Turkey

I had my first pleasant surprise in this country when, on the day I arrived in New York and went into a coffee shop to have breakfast, the waitress brought me a glass of iced water. I had my second pleasant surprise when the waitress came back and refilled my glass after I had sipped a little.

Turks are among the few water-drinking people of Europe, and their great trouble when they visit other countries on the Continent is to find that people do not drink or serve water, and tend to regard any visitor who asks for a glass of water as uncivilized.

National Beverages

In France the more wine you drink the more civilized you are. In England the same goes for beer. And if you happen to ask for iced or cold beer in an English pub, the chances are that you will be regarded either as crazy or an American.

Turks, however, are as fond of water and ice as Americans are, and that may be one reason why they can get along so well together.

Water-drinking in Turkey, and especially in Istanbul, is a refined custom, almost a cult, inherited from the extinct Ottoman civilization — a civilization in which life revolved in greater part around the kitchen, the dining room and the picnic ground. Indeed, if the death of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 could have been scientifically diagnosed, it might have been discovered that the deceased had been a victim of his over-refined palate.

Rich in Spring-Water

People in Istanbul, as in many other parts of Turkey, do not get their drinking water from taps. Turkey has a rich store of spring-water, and Istanbul boasts some of the best springs. This water is sold in bottles of all sizes. At one time Egypt imported spring water from Istanbul.

A good Istanbulian is such a connoisseur of water as a good Parisian is of wine. He can tell you, after a few sips, which spring the water comes from.

On weekends many families go to the springs and spend a whole day drinking fresh water. It has a natural coolness of its own, if you drink it on the spot—just the right amount of coolness, unspoiled by the peculiar smell of the refrigerator.

Going to the Waters

Of course people also eat on these weekend pilgrimages to the springs. But though the food has been prepared with meticulous care, it would never be regarded as the main event. They only eat so that they can drink more water, and the dishes are chosen so as to stimulate thirst.

The expression for those outdoor water-drinking parties in Istanbul is "going to the waters." "Let’s go to the waters this coming Sunday," dad says, and mum knows just what to cook.

Turks have even glorified water. When a person brings a glass of water to an old lady or gentleman, she or he says:

"May you be blessed as the water, my child."

And may you all in this country be biessed as the water, since you can appreciate it. 




“America, Land of Free Sparkling Ice Water,” Bülent Ecevit Yazıları 1950-1961, 5 Aralık 2022, ulaşıldı.