By Anthony Romanelli, opinion editor 

Only two hours before the homecoming game, Prospect’s Turkish Club set up tables, speakers and trays of food in the KLC, part of their “Taste of Turkey” event designed to encourage people to try some new foods and learn more about Turkish culture.

Though school psychologist Jay Kyp-Johnson is the official staff adviser in charge of the club, he left most of the event to senior Medine Karamanli and junior Ayse Eldes, who welcomed around 30 guests to the event, including the group’s 15 members and a number of non-members and parents.

“We wanted to get the program settled as soon as possible,” Karamanli said.

The club, a brand new addition to Prospect this year, is only a couple weeks old, and was formed as a way for students, Turkish or not, to meet new people and try new things. Five of the club’s members are incoming freshmen, and Karamanli and Eldes wanted to make the transition into high school easier for them and kept that in mind when organizing the event.

Eldes began the event with a short presentation on Turkey’s cultural diversity and historic heritage and brought up some examples in architecture, art and music. After the presentation, food was served at a buffet table along with hot tea.

Some of the foods included helva, a dense, sweet confection served in thick slices, baklava, a honeyed dessert wrapped in filo dough, and cigkofte, a paste made with finely ground beef, tomato and minced peppers, often eaten with a fresh lettuce leaf to reduce the intense spice. Karamanli explained that cigkofte is served by street vendors in the markets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities.

“They are just like hot dogs here in Chicago,” Karamanli said.

After the meal, Eldes and a group of the students went directly to the homecoming game after thanking the others for coming. Karamanli and Eldes both want Turkish Club to be more of a social club than anything else. While no date has been scheduled yet, Karamanli said that plans for a night showcasing traditional Turkish coffee are in the works.

“There’s a lot that goes into making Turkish coffee,” Karamanli said. “We’re going to need a whole other night for that.”