Tuesday, January 22, 2013

at the fish market

It was a grey day on the 38th SketchCrawl— cold enough for your fingers to lock around your pencil, and your nose to be in constant need of a tissue. In between showers of icy rain, we split our time watching gulls and sketching fish, much to the delight and surprise of the burly fishmongers. They took turns bellowing "BUYRUNBUYRUN!" at potential customers, and hovering behind us tsking, and making hand gestures of approval.

We stood for nearly two hours, each of us working on our spreads, and I couldn't help but think that sketching demands a certain amount of toughness. I could feel my knees protest, and goodness, it was cold— but then the sketch would absorb me, and I forgot. Every so often, a fishmonger would yell "Abi!" at PeF, wave at him to move, then hurl an arc of seawater on his fish— the tail end of the arc landing where PeF once stood. I was routinely bumped out of the way by customers, and narrowly avoided getting drenched by a sheet of water being emptied from a bowed awning.

Every other street in Beyoğlu has a guy with portable stand of stuffed mussels— portable, because apparently they do not have a permit to sell these bivalves— or so I've been told. Yet there are so many of these guys that I wonder how true this claim of illegality is. People ask me whether they should indulge in eating these tasty treats (and I love stuffed mussels), and while I doubt they're too harmful, I am reminded of how the mussels arrive in the back of a truck and are sitting around all day... sometimes in the summer sun... but who knows?

I got my midye dolması— my stuffed mussels, at a fish shack by the Marmara Sea in Menekşe. The rice was delicately spiced, and with a squeeze of lemon, they were perfect.

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