Story of the Day — Turkish Generosity

Today’s best story comes from the BBC’s Lisa Morrow in Turkey.

Photo — Turkish Bakeries

She says the seemingly modern idea of paying it forward actually goes back centuries. It’s called askıda ekmek and relates specifically to paying it forward with bread.

She reports: ‘At my local bakery in Göztepe, near Kadıköy on the Asian side of Istanbul, everything is made on the premises in a wood-fired oven tucked away at the back.

‘Any space not taken up by the 1,200 white loaves they produce a day is filled with baguettes, rolls, rye, multigrain and cornbread, as well as cakes, biscuits and pastries.

Bread for Free

‘Amidst the constant flurry of customers, I’ll sometimes see the owner give someone a loaf of bread without any money changing hands. At other times a customer will pay for two loaves of bread but only take one.Is there bread on the hook?

The giving of ekmek (bread) is of special importance in Turkey

‘Askıda ekmek, which means “bread on a hanger” or “suspended bread”, has its roots in Islam, the dominant religion in the country.

‘It works like this: you go to a bakery and pay for two loaves of bread but only take one.

‘On paying for the bread, you tell the person who takes the money that one of them is askıda ekmek. Your contribution is bagged and hung together with others so when people come in throughout the day and ask, “Askıda ekmek var mi?” (“Is there bread on the hook?”), they can take a loaf for free.’ This story and more at BBC News — < >

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