So, the best food that I have had here is шашлик (Sha-sh-leek) which is basically grilled pork on a skewer with onions and peppers. There is a specific marinade that just makes it very Moldovan that I haven't quite understood yet.
Another favorite I have learned to love, Mama Liga which is like a hard cornmeal side dish usually smothered in sour cream and shredded local cheese. Delicious.
BUT, I did want to learn to make a few things. So I did what any sane person would do and asked some locals to teach me.
Lesson #1 - Борш! (Borscht)
I grew up with a Polish style borscht which contained a lot of kielbasa and hot dogs and boiled eggs. That is what we had (and still have) for every holiday. When I moved here, it was a Russian style borscht which has a beet base. I know what you're thinking...you don't eat vegetables! Well...when in Cahul... I do eat a lot more vegetables now than I ever have, but still not nearly as much as I should.
Our dear friend Natasha came over and gave us a borscht making lesson. So Borscht is a soup made of cabbage, beets, carrots, onions, potatoes and meat with some spices. It is delicious. It took me about a year to really appreciate it but now I love it and am so happy that now I know how to make it.
|Boiling a head of shredded cabbage.|
|Shredded beets and cabbage.|
|Putting it all together to simmer.|
|Finally, can't have a bowl of soup in Eastern Europe without a gob of sour cream. Delicious.|
Lesson #2 - Фаршированный перец и голубцы (Stuffed Peppers and Grape Leaves)
Our dear friend Sasha's mother offered to teach us how to make these from scratch and it took a long day (with a lot of wine) to do them all.
|Diced onions, carrots, peppers, giblets and fatty pork.|
|Fresh Grape Leaves.|
|Throwing it all together.|
|Adding the rice to the mixture.|
|Sasha enjoying the knife sharpening process...a little too much.|
|Stuffed and ready to cook.|
|Packed the pot tightly so there are no gaps.|
|Covering it with extra grape leaves.|
|Looked through one of their old Soviet photo albums.|
|Vlad (Sasha's brother), Me, Gheorge (Sasha's Dad), Nelya (Sasha's Mom), Jesse and Holly.|
(Sasha is taking the photo.)