On Pasta and Happiness

Anyone who meets Vedia Törün cannot fail to be impressed by her. A charming, poised hanımefendi, energetic for her 80-odd years, Vedia Hanım is passionate about çekme makarna, a traditional gnocchi-like pasta dish that has all but disappeared from the kitchens of Foça. In Vedia’s case, çekme makarna was passed down from her mother’s family who came to Foça from the island of Lemnos. But according to Vedia Hanım, the Greeks of Foça also cooked çekme makarna, especially for Christmas, as an offering to ensure a bountiful wheat harvest. As such, this simple dish represents part of a shared culture of the Aegean that, as the title of Nilgun-Ramazan Emiroğlu’s short film makes clear, can fill the heart as well as the stomach.