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Jennifer Hattam is an independent journalist based in Istanbul, where she relocated in early 2008. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she worked at Mother Jones and Sierra magazines, as well as various Internet companies, as a writer and editor before beginning her expat adventure in Turkey.

In addition to writing about arts and culture, the environment, food and drink, politics and society, travel, and urban issues, Jennifer also leads culinary tours of her adopted city’s colorful neighborhoods.

Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Cities, BBC Wildlife, California, IPS, Istanbul Eats, The National,, Time Out Istanbul, Wired and Women’s eNews, among other print and online publications. Jennifer also writes about her personal experiences and observations in Turkey on her blog, The Turkish Life  at

Barbara Massaad with Syrian children at a Bekaa Valley refugee camp. Credit: Courtesy of Barbara Massaad

When faced with almost 1 million needy people, a bowl of soup -- even a large vat -- doesn't go a very long way. But

Cooking Iranian food, zereshk polow (barberry rice), for an event in Istanbul celebrating immigrant traditions. Credit: Jennifer Hattam

Sara moves around the large kitchen with laser-like focus, filling a tea glass of water to add to a heaping pot of saffron rice

People gather on İstiklal Caddesi in Istanbul for iftar meal. Credit: Jennifer Hattam

On the first night of Ramadan last month, thousands of people gathered on İstiklal Caddesi in central Istanbul. They laid down newspapers and tablecloths

Turkish ice cream vendor in Istanbul. Credit: Jennifer Hattam

Clad in a red vest with gold embroidery and matching fez, the ice cream vendor rings a bell hanging above his booth on Istanbul's


Steam rose from the two heavy pots perched on top of twin cooking-gas cylinders, the scent of orange peels and apples wafting through the