Go Goha: Geography

I made up a dessert the other night.

I grated some apples and mixed them with chopped walnuts, honey, sesame seeds, lemon, cinnamon, and melted butter. I put the mixture on eggroll wrappers, folded each wrapper, brushed them with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. I baked the rolls, and when they were done, I passed off the dessert to my family as something Turkish.

"I don't think they use eggroll wrappers in Turkish cooking, Mom," said one kid.

"The desserts at the Turkish restaurant were flakier and stickier, and...well, not like this," said another.
We recently ate at a Turkish restaurant in celebration of our studies about Turkey. We ordered desserts at the restaurant and my kids knew my concoction wasn't exactly authentic. 

I did notice they ate the treats, however, despite the lack of authenticity.

Something different
We started something different for our Geography studies in the past month or so by using the book Explore the Holy Land by Ann Voskamp. In the past, I did a DIY approach to Geography, but decided to use Voskamp's book as we study the Middle East. We started with chapter 1: Turkey.

We do Geography during lunchtime. I guess food and Geography go together for us. It's easy to look at the map posted on the bulletin board next to our kitchen table as we read and talk about the places we study. The usual routine is that I read to the kids at the table while they finish lunch, and then they do a drawing and written narration in their Geography notebooks.

Something the same
Since I like reading folk tales from the places we study, I asked the librarian at our local branch to help me find folk tales from Turkey. She found this delightful book about Goha for me. Goha is a folk hero not only from Turkey but from other countries in the region as well, and he goes by different names.

When the librarian handed me the book, I paged through it and immediately knew we would love it. The images in the book are hand-stitched illustrations. I love hand-stitched anything.

My kids were as smitten as I was with the illustrations, and the stories were a big hit in our family. In fact, in a rare move, I read some stories at dinner so my husband could hear them as well. We all like Goha and it's hard for each of us to decide which of the funny stories about him we like the best.

Something again
I found a book about Turkey on the community bookshelf in our building's basement. The funny thing is, it's a book I put there about a year ago when decluttering our apartment. I wasn't interested in Turkey at the time, but after studying the place with my kids, I now want to read a book for adults about it. I'd better hurry, though, because we started the next country in Voskamp's book: Isreal.

Images. Top: A drawing of apples I made. Bottom: Goha the Wise Fool by Denys Johnson-Davies.


  1. Very interesting. So far I'm in the DIY. I like what you do, we too, we get into the folk tales. As for geography, we've been reading the Twin Series by Lucy Perkins, they are free for the kindle if you have one.
    And like you, geography and food come also together in my family.
    I was grinning all the time as I read your children comments on your concoction! ha ha ha You can't give this children any substitute. It reminds me of my little one at our Friday date at the supermarket, and the chips I got for her. And she talking to her sis and telling her we ate "original kettle chips", they were "original", it sounded so cute from her four year old body.
    I believe Turkish desserts are the best by far. The mix of their delicate flaky pastries with nuts and honey is my favorite. Russians and Greeks (by proximity, maybe), are great dessert makers too.

    Your picture is so HAPPY and fresh. Beautiful and inspiring. I love how you draw the little I've seen so far!

  2. these children, sorry... that's my all times mistake I can't get shake.

  3. Apples, nuts, sugar and spice with BUTTER --- you cannot go wrong there no matter what you do with it! Your kids sound like they're just as observant, precise and honest as my boy.

    Keep writing about your journey through the Voskamp book. I'd like to hear your review. We're headed into Marco Polo for next year. Haven't picked out the book(s) yet. Geography during lunch sounds like a good idea only our maps are not in the dining area. But food often ends up in the school room and the globe often ends up on the dining room table (along with tons of other books.)

    That shine on the apple with a bit of red is amazing. You are very, very good. I still want to grow up to be like you.


  4. Silvia - I will look for the book you recommend. I love recommendations!!

    Kay - I will keep you posted on the book, though at the slow pace we are going, you might pass us by! We finished Isreal and the next country is Egypt. I feel the need for a break (and a trip to an Isreali restaurant!) before heading into Egypt, which can be a very consuming topic, imo.

    Thanks for the nice comments on the applees.