Friday, April 19, 2024

FOODFIC: Please Welcome D.J. Green, Author of No More Empty Spaces

A Taste of Turkey—The Country, Not the Bird

Will Ross had his first taste of adventure, and foreign cuisine, as a teenager serving as a Marine combat medic during the Korean War. That experience whetted his appetite for more—adventure, and flavors of places far and wide.

It’s 1973 when No More Empty Spaces opens, and Will, who is now an engineering geologist, has landed a job in Turkey where he’ll work on the construction of a troubled dam. And what are his first impressions?—the smells and tastes of Turkish food as he walks Ankara’s streets on his way to his first day on the job. The tangy scents of spices on roasting meat capture his imagination for future meals, and it seems the guy who loves food that makes him sweat has come to the right place. Fiery Adana kebabs will become Will’s favorite dish. On the same walk, though he doesn’t usually eat breakfast, the yeasty aroma of freshly baked bread in one bakery after another draws him in to the next one he comes to, where he tries a warm-from-the oven, chewy, and ever-so-slightly savory roll. As he chews it, he can’t help but compare it to the tasteless and textureless (unless you consider ‘marshmallow’ a texture) white bread from the grocery shelves back in the States.

But that is only the beginning, as Will and his family sample countless new foods and drinks from fruit (the apricots Turkey is famous for) to nuts (pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds, oh my!) on their adventures in Anatolia. Two treats the family will talk about for years are the honey-rich baklava made in Gaziantep filled with the small, sweet pistachios grown there (a highlight of the local food movement before there even was one) and the ice cream like none other in the world, Kahraman MariƟ
dondurma, made with flour from the roots of wild orchids that gives it a thick and pleasantly gooey quality as it flows across your tongue. And then there’s the Turkish coffee.

So, it is the taste of the country, not the bird, that you’ll find in the Ross family’s story, though Will always remembers his four-year-old daughter’s reaction when she found out they were making the trip—how she’d skipped across the lawn, shouting, “A ’benture! Turkey! Gobble, gobble, gobble!”

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, DJ!

You can find DJ here:






D. J. Green is a writer, geologist, and sailor, as well as a bookseller and partner in Bookworks, an independent bookstore in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She lives near the Sandia Mountains in Placitas, New Mexico, and cruises the Salish Sea on her sailboat during the summers. No More Empty Spaces is her first novel. She is currently working on her second novel, Chances, the story of woman taking the helm of her life as she learns to command the helm of sailboat, as told by the intrepid boat dog who is her First Mate. Read more of D. J.’s writing on her website,


  1. Thank you! Hope you find this taste of Turkey delicious!

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