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Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Tourists enjoy delicious cups of hot salep at a traditional kiraathane (coffeehouse) in Kadikoy, a neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul                                                                                                                                                           photo
Turkey’s hot winter beverage is 
delicious and indescribable.

By Thomas Shess, Editor in Chief--This time of year my taste buds somehow remind me they’re in the mood for a delicious cup of hot salep.  We discovered this hot beverage in Istanbul on the Asian side of the Strait of Bosporus.  Salep is only made in winter and is commonly found everywhere in Turkey.

We had left our tour guide to explore Istanbul’s eclectic Kadikoy neighborhood.  It was still early in the morning when we noticed a nice looking outdoor café with a long row of café tables covered in festive red cloths.  The waiter was standing next to a barrel sized metal container that we learned contained hot Salep.  He urged us to try the beverage, which was served in tea cups and at first looked like a warm cup of egg nog.

It was love at first taste.

Salep is as intriguing as Istanbul.  It’s an ancient drink that is made from a white powder extracted from the dried tubers of wild orchids found in the countryside.

Because real salep is so hard to make most buy powered salep—even the Turks.  But those hospitable cafes all over Istanbul serve the real salep and tasting we did.

As mentioned it looks like egg nog.  Salep, however, is creamy a bit thicker in texture than egg nog and not quite as sweet.  The liquid is grainy and served with cinnamon and bits of pistachio nuts (don’t over do the pistachios).  More words of description escape me.

When in Turkey find yourself a salep serving café and enjoy one of life’s great beverage adventures.

In America, salep power is retailed by the Mado brand.  It’s easier to order from

There are other brands of salep, including Nestle but my trials in making homemade salep always return to the round tin of Mado.

Editor’s note: The above article recalls an Istanbul of past, less violent time.  It is sad how this dynamic and historic city has been the recent victim of barbarians at the gate.

Monday, January 23, 2017


From The Economist, January 2017 cover

And so begins the dreary administration of the nation’s 45th President.

The following statement is attributed to Jeff Ballou, president of the National Press Club:

"The National Press Club welcomes a healthy discussion and debate on the stories of the day. However, it's absurd and unacceptable to insult and impugn the motives of credentialed journalists for accurate reporting. Additionally, the National Press Club is alarmed by reports that several media outlets who have regularly been credentialed to cover the White House and Congress were denied credentials related to the inauguration. We do not expect or anticipate the White House to like every story written about it. We do expect and anticipate that journalists will be free and able to cover this or any other administration."

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club has 3,100 members worldwide and is a strong advocate for Press Freedom.