Alice's Voice

It’s About Time or How to Stop Snacking 

Did you know that Turkish Coffee made with Splenda is zero WW points? Using Splenda instead of sugar to make the perfect ‘mazboot’ (medium sweet) is also potential grounds for divorce from my Egyptian husband.  But then, so is making it on an electric burner. 

“It needs gas,” I’ve been told many times. In fact, every time. 

The other thing it needs is time. 

It’s about time. 

In the U.S. when we say “It’s about time,” we mean what is taking so long?! 

Said by my husband it means this will take time. It’s a long, languid view of time. Like being on the Nile — it stretches out before you, always moving.  

Back to the WW points. When I was looking for ways to replace the afternoon snacking habit that was ruining my weekly weigh-in, I asked myself one question: What is the real need? I discovered that it’s about time. 

The afternoon snack is not about sustenance — it is about time.  I want time for me. Time to be replenished, to restore, to think, to be thought of. 

When I believe the old story, there isn’t enough for me — enough room, enough time, enough resources — that’s when I reach for dark chocolate, a bag of chips, a wedge of cheese. If the need is to know that my needs have value, then it’s not a snacking habit I’m dismantling. 

What I decided I need is a ritual. A ritual that says — there’s time for you, there’s room for you. 

Making Turkish Coffee surely fits the bill. To make Turkish Coffee properly you need to be present, physically with the coffee. You can’t press a button and walk away, coming back to brewed coffee. You must stand over it on the stove, stirring gently. 

You must be aware. You are looking for something. My husband calls it the face. You heat the coffee stirring it long enough to create foam that is like a face on the surface and as soon as you see the face, stop stirring and pour.  

The face is hard to find. It’s appears just in an instant and then it dissolves. If you look away, even for a second you could turn back to the puck, puck, puck of a boil. That means you have gone too far and it’s ruined. There is no boiling in Turkish Coffee.

There is no rushing the face. Stir, stir, look, and stir. You must practice. 

When we were first married I learned quickly and then made it often — weekly. I got really good at it but I let the practice slide in favor of drive-thru caramel macchiatos. 

What I know is that these first few weeks of Turkish Coffee will range from too weak to too strong to burnt to underdone to almost right, until at last, it will be just right. Then I’ll have it. The feel of the spoon, the ratio of water to grounds, the look of the face. 

What a worthy pleasure. Time, awareness, and presence with a hint of cardamom as my reward. 

4 replies »

  1. Thank you, Alice–I could taste that Turkish coffee. For me, coffee is an early morning practice. I used to grind the beans at night, in my ancient, wall-hung Arcade 25 grinder, so as to save time when it most seemed to matter. Then I learned that time saved was taste wasted: Coffee beans, once ground, immediately begin to lose their deepest, darkest flavors. Now I save my exertions until the water is ready to rock and roll. The aroma, the taste, so good. Timing isn’t the only thing; it’s everything.


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