C.S. Lewis’s Greatest Fiction Was Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight
I too had the most extreme desire to try Turkish Delight after reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I too probably would have been surprised to taste anything close to real Turkish Delight:
Here’s what it really is: a starch and sugar gel often containing fruit or nuts and flavored with rosewater, citrus, resin, or mint. The texture is gummy and sticky, some of the flavors are unfamiliar to American palates, and the whole thing is very, very sweet.
Now, I should add, I have since had a chance to try rose-flavored Turkish Delight, possibly this brand or something similar, and I liked it a lot even though super-sweet things are not necessarily my favorite. On the other hand, I’m a big fan of rose-flavored confections. Possibly as an inexperienced child I might have been less keen on flavors like that than I am now.
Now, here is what Jess Zimmerman was inspired to do: I set out to discover what Americans imagined when they read about Turkish Delight. What kind of candy did we think would inspire a boy to betray his brothers and sisters? … Their answers spanned a whole range of sweet treats—and some surprises.
Click through to read all the rhapsodic visions of what Turkish Delight ought to be.
11 thoughts on “An amusing post from Atlas Obscura —”
Hmmmm, I’ve had VERY VERY GOOD Turkish Delight/loukum and I’ve had VERY VERY BAD Turkish Delight. It’s mostly down to how fresh it is–dried out Turkish Delight is terrible. (I actually think I preferred the pistachio version, myself.)
Interesting! Plainly I need to sample more Turkish Delight so that I can make a more informed evaluation of its worthiness as a payment for betraying family members…
I had it a couple years back at a market in Southern France. I love pistachios, so I thought it was tasty, but (indeed) too sweet. There were a lot of tasty Middle Eastern confections at that counter.
Same place I discovered pea velouté
with mint. (Despite the common main ingredient, it has nothing in common with split pea soup.)
“Plainly I need to sample more Turkish Delight so that I can make a more informed evaluation of its worthiness as a payment for betraying family members”
Depends on the brother.
My oldest brothers, it would take some pretty darn fancy Turkish Delight.
The brother-next-oldest-to-me? Well… marzipan.
Seriously, now I’m going to have to go try this stuff again. I think the Turkish Delight I sampled was the El Cheapo version, hardly worth betraying a second cousin for.
Pistachios = maybe betraying a nonrelative I don’t much like (pistachios not really my thing).
Rose = now there’s more of a temptation!
But yes, the Turkish Delight I’ve had, while I liked it, wouldn’t be my idea of an ur-dessert. Most days of the week, I’d probably take good fudge over even the best Turkish Delight.
Give me chocolate any day.
Maureen, dates are like that too. Really fresh, soft dates are out of this world; the drier they get the less I like ’em.
If you like rosewater, Rachel, have you tried orange blossom water?
Yep; I have rose water, orange blossom water, and iris water in my pantry — but rose is my favorite.
Oooh iris water? What’s that like?
I like to flavor my drinking water with orange blossom water. It makes it a touch more refreshing, imo :) And if you like that, try ‘white coffee’, if you haven’t already: basically equal parts (I think it’s equal parts, but you may want to experiment) orange blossom water and water boiled together, drunk in tiny Turkish-coffee-esque portions (it’s strong).
Sounds like my kind of “coffee”! I will try that for sure. Maybe I’ll try it with iris water — which is hard to describe — as well.
If you really want a just comparison, stop eating candy of any form for a few years, and then try it.
This was, after all, after several years of rationing in Great Britain.
Mary, good point! The article pointed out that important detail.