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!
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.
P.S. Yeah, I know it’s Saturday. Life happens. Deal. 🙂
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.
Look at this beautiful cake! Are you as surprised as I am to learn that it’s made of meat? Liver, no less (one of the few foods I really don’t like). But prepared this way, it’s really good! Additional ingredients include sauteed onions and carrots, and mayonnaise. Peace Corps encourages us to always say “yes” to new experiences, and this time I’m really glad I did. Tortă de ficat de pui (“tor-tuh day fee-caht day poo-ee”*) is delicious!
So, this one takes a little explaining. The terci de mazăre (“terch deh mah-zuh-reh”*) looks a little like mashed potatoes, but is actually made of peas! It’s a thick puree (actually denser than mashed potatoes) with a flavor similar to split-pea soup. It’s served with a thick stew of vegetables and chicken which my host mom calls sous (“sowce”*). The flavors complement each other well, and the entire thing is delicious.
I came home from the school one day this week to find my host mom in the kitchen, as I often do. She was explaining that we would eat lunch in a few minutes when I spied a homemade coffee cake on the counter behind her. That certainly hadn’t been there that morning! So I asked about it.
“Prăjitură cu mere” (“pruh-zhee-too-ruh coo mair-ray”*) she told me, apple coffee cake. “Pentru fata mea”; for my girl. My host mom, who is a diabetic, and could only eat a taste of it, had made a coffee cake just for me! She knows the first week of school is always stressful for teachers, and she is incredibly kind. By the way, the cake is delicious. At this writing there are only two slices left! 🙂