Food Friday: Bostan din Cuptor

My host mom laughed at me when I took this picture.  She doesn’t think it really counts as cooking, since all she did was cut up a pumpkin (from her garden!) and put it in the oven, with maybe a little vegetable oil. Bostan din Cuptor (“Bost-ahn  deen coop-tor”)* just means “pumpkin from the oven.”  But it sure tastes good!


*pronunciation approximate

Posted in Language, Peace Corps, Photo, school

Word Wednesday: Cheie

Doesn’t this key look like it ought to open a pirate treasure chest?  Or a secret room in a spooky old mansion? Or the final clue to solve some deep ancient mystery?  Actually it’s just the key to the office where I keep my things at school (although I secretly think of it as my Harry Potter key).  Using this cheie (“kay-ee-ay”*) — this key — almost always makes me smile.


*pronunciation approximate

Food Friday: Biscuits de Porumb

My host mom loves to try out different treats on me.  When she brought these out she said “these are cookies made with corn flour.” Biscuits de Porumb (beess-cu-eats day pour-oomb”*) just means cookies from corn.  I was curious to try them, and I like them very much.  In my head I call them “cornbread cookies” because they taste kind of like sweet (Jiffy) cornbread only even sweeter, with a denser texture, almost like butter cookies.  img_3564-2

*pronunciation approximate.

P.S.  Yeah, I know it’s Saturday.  Life happens. Deal.  🙂



Posted in Language, Life & Such, Peace Corps, Photo

Word Wednesday: Toamnă

Spring is green.  Summer is bright.

Autumn is yellow.  Winter is white.

Some of the sixth grade English students had to memorize this little poem.  When I first heard it I wondered why yellow was the color they had chosen for Autumn (my experience includes Autumns with red, green, yellow, orange, and mixed-color leaves).  Now I’m seeing the reason.  Check out Toamnă (“Twahm-nuh”*) — Autumn, in Moldova:


(Note that the top middle two pictures are the same place, only 5 days apart. In the second one looooottttss of leaves are now on the ground!)

*pronunciation aproximate

Posted in Peace Corps, People, school

Playing Teacher

The text in one of the 4th grade lessons has a student pretending to be the teacher. So to start the class, we got this volunteer to be the “teacher” and review the previous lesson’s vocabulary with the class. As you can see, it was a big hit!

Food Friday: brânză

I know two words in Romanian for “cheese”.  The yellow kind from the store is called cașcaval (“cahsh-cah-vahl”*) but this more common, locally produced cheese is called brânză (“broon-zuh”**).  Wikipedia says it’s from sheep milk, but I’ve been told there is brânză from cow and goat milk as well.  It’s somewhat reminiscent of feta cheese, but with a sharper taste, a little bit like ricotta and a little bit like roquefort. It’s used very commonly here in all kinds of food, from crumbling it on top of fried eggs to baking it inside of pastries, to name just two.  Since the taste is sharp, tangy and salty, most Volunteers report that they  either love it or hate it.

**Pronunciation even more approximate than usual.  The â really doesn’t exist in English. It sounds kind of like the French eu in “fleur” but not quite.