I just returned from a marvelous two week trip to Turkey. Fantastic experience. I have never felt so welcomed or taken care of. Beautiful textures and colors everywhere. I loved being in such a different culture.
But that's not the important part. No. I am a mac-n-cheese huntress. I doubted that Turkey, home of the doner kebab and endless tomato and cucumber salads, would have mac-n-cheese, but I was duty bound to explore the possibility. Lo and behold...
Turkish mac-n-cheese. A.K.A. firinda makarna
Stylistically, it's strangely NOLA like-- noodles baked into a casserole with a bland egg /cheese sauce. Like many things in Turkey, it had parsley and onion. It also had a hint of spice, which, according to the recipes I'm looking up online now, is nutmeg. Unfortunately, I only got to try it once at a cafeteria style restaurant on Istiklal Caddesi, so I have no comparison, but the other versions I saw looked similar. Wherever you go, there it is. Mac-n-cheese, bringing the world together through a shared language of pasta and cheese.
(Apologies for the lousy photos. I dropped my gorgeous camera in the Mediterranean and was stuck with a disposable film camera for the rest of my trip.)