Monday Meal Review: Turkmenistan

Our week cooking Turkmenistan was all about the bubble… bubbling Watermelon Jam, bubbling Central Asia Tea, and bubbles on the forehead. It was the bubbles on the forehead that really made me smile. In Turkmenistan, tapping your tea bubbles, then tapping your forehead is said to bring good fortune.

This little ritual definitely falls in the realm of superstition. I felt a little silly doing it. At first, I couldn’t figure out why.

The awkwardness wasn’t really about getting my forehead wet, although that certainly played into it.

And it wasn’t about having to demonstrate to my skeptical family, although their giggles definitely made me feel extra silly.

Here they are.. tap, tap.

And then I realized what it was.

The superstition felt weird because I haven’t been following any superstitions of my own lately.

When I was in high school, I’d say “If I get this trash in the basket, then I’ll have an awesome day.”

When I was in college, I’d say, “If I tap my pencil three times, I’ll pass the test.”

When I was dating Keith, I’d say “If he looks at me in the next ten seconds, he loves me.”

I’d say it all worked out okay!


Back in the day, I was brimming with superstition.  Heck, it was practically boiling over!

Then we got married, had a baby, and the ins-and-outs of life got in the way of my daily dose of dreams.

Yes, dreams. Because, isn’t that what superstitions are? Another way to dream? Another way to ward off the worst? Another way to hope for the future?

Turkmenistan reminds me that I’ve forgotten to make time for my dreams – those silly wishes that, truth be told, aren’t that silly at all.

What about you? Do you have superstitions? Do you make time for your dreams?


Watermelon Jam [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Three cheers for another conversation starter! Watermelon Jam is summery and light. Everyone gobbled this up and then some. I particularly loved that I could jar this and give some to friends. They’d make great hostess gifts, birthday gifts, or just-because gifts.

What I loved least about this dish:

I had a little trouble working with the pectin, but nothing a little practice didn’t fix. I’ve written the recipe in such a way that it should be very easy for you to follow.

Central Asian Tea Party [Recipe]

What I loved most about this:

I love a good tea party. We were able to squeeze this in after a swim with Keith’s parents and his son’s family. It was a fun way to punctuate the day and have a few laughs together. The rituals like pouring from way high up and tapping the bubbles to our heads made for a lively gathering.

What I loved least about this:



  1. Simone says

    What a great post yet again! It’s so true for me too! I used to do this all the time!!! And them i had kids and work and ‘real life’ hit 😉 thanks for sharing!!! Now If I hit send on this I’ll have a great day 😉

  2. Janet Goodell says

    Just finished my pitcher of green tea. Five jars of jam still in frig–can hardly wait to eat summer in January! Tea time with small family was nice and relaxing yesterday. I would do it more often but 16 YO son wants to eat a full meal by 2:00 (and 4:00 and 6:00 and…) Now that I think about it teat time is a good break before fixing supper.

  3. Any idea why Turkmenistan has the highest rate of death from coronary heart disease on the planet? Their diet seems low-fat and healthy

    • Lisa says

      Young people and mature men are quite thin. Mature women with children are often heavy around the mid-section. Many Turkmen men smoke. Many men and women drink vodka regularly. The Turkmen diet is heavy on meat, dairy and bread. Though, they eat a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, eggplant and pumpkin, I suspect it’s the large portions of bread at every meal, the lack of healthy cooking oils, the vodka and the cigs that drive the sad statistics. Coca-Cola and M&M Mars have also ruined the Turkmen people’s love of snacking on homegrown food. The small shops are now stocked to the brim with the products of both companies, and there are no educational outreach programs to stave off the infiltration of America’s sugar factories. These two companies have literally transformed the children’s diets in just one generation. Turkmenistan is a very isolated country, due to presidential/ministry control, without access to outside education, healthcare and freedom. Yet the people are very hardworking, hospitable, peaceful, intelligent, family-oriented and resourceful. They often make the best with what little they have but are kept from prospering in a world that has quickly eclipsed them. I love the people of Turkmenistan, and I wish the world could do more to help this forgotten country. Think of Turkmenistan as the “Cuba of Central Asia.”

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