The Blog


By Natassa Karamanli

The little girl coughed loudly and her eyes blurred from the tears. She put her hand on her head and sighed. The grandmother ran quickly to her side and held her hand lovingly.

-Hush my dear and it will pass. It’s an ugly cold. You’ll see.

The girl smiled and thought that she loved her grandmother so much. As big and furious as she was, she was always speaking nicely to her and she could come up with home remedies to make her better. The girl trusted her grandma deeply , since she would always find solutions to anyone’s problems and that would fill her up with joy and energy.

She had grown up in Konstantinopole and the kitchen was her kingdom. In that magical place, grandmother resurrected all the old recipes of her youth. All the memories she carried as precious treasures in her leafy hearts, transformed them into masterful flavors, worthy of royal palates.

Grandma brought a woolen blanket and covered her. She carried her to the kitchen and put her on the couch.

-What will you do grandma?
-I’m gonna make you better my lovely child. Only this will get out the bad cold and stop your cough.

The kitchen was warm and on the stove lit, the teapot was already steaming. The grandmother paused briefly before the cabinets and put her utensils on the large table as she counted them.

-Cinnamon, milk, a little ginger, a little clove and sugar. Oh dear, where did I put the shaleb? Oh yes!

She carefully took the hot teapot and poured the boiling water into a tin jug. She put the cloves in and then swirled the water. Then , she put the water back into the teapot and threw the powder in the bowl. After stirring for a while, with steady motion and then filling with a little warm milk , she tasted the mixture. She briefly poured three tablespoons of sugar and stirred again. Filled a mug that had warmed up before with a hot towel and sprinkle with plenty of cinnamon and a little grated ginger.

-My dear child , your shaleb is ready. Drink it as it is hot and tomorrow your cough will be past.

The shaleb was twisting like the grandmother’s chest and the hot breath made the girl’s eyelids close. She slowly sucked in the magic drink and in every sip she discovered a hidden image of her grandmother’s memories. Her body ached and she was lulled her into a quiet sleep, with no chest pain and coughing and her dreams were only the aroma of cinnamon and clove.

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