I have a problem. Two months from now, when I’m back in the States, I do not know what I’m going to eat after my runs.
This is not a small problem.
After a run, you want to eat something tasty and filling that has lots of calories. Oh, sure, plenty of running, health, fitness magazines have all kinds of pseudo-scientific advice about the “5 THINGS YOU MUST EAT AFTER RUNNING” or else you are a poorly trained runner who will never improve or even be a proper runner. Those writers have obviously never eaten börek.
Right now, when I finish my run in the morning, I stop at Cakırca, my neighborhood börek place. There, Yavuz, the man behind the counter, asks me in Turkish how far I’ve run and I reply in Turkish with my distance that morning. Then I select the kinds of börek I want. He chops up a batch, I pay him, and then I’m on my way back to my apartment with a small bag full of the börek.
What is börek? you ask.
A savory hearty pastry that is usually eaten in the morning or at lunch time.
Börek can be filled with cheese, spinach, potatoes, or meat. Usually, it’s fried. So it’s crispy and oily. My favorite kinds are the cheese and potato. There are many variations of börek in areas formerly under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Wikipedia has a good rundown of the many variations. One of them I see a lot in places like Simit Sarayi and small food kiosks is sigara böreği (cigarette börek). This börek is is shaped like a long round roll (cigar-shaped) and is popular as a form of fast food.
Turks eat börek with tea or ayran. I often eat it with a couple of fried eggs over-easy and some fruit juice and coffee.
For me, börek has become the perfect food to eat after a run. My wife has even asked me, “What are you going to eat after your runs when we go back to Michigan?” I really don’t know. There are no börek places whatsoever. There are recipes, but they are labor-intensive. Somehow I’m going to have to learn to live without the convenience of a place nearby that makes and serves börek…or maybe we can stay here just a little longer.