Lately, Kokoro and I have been spending more time than usual trying to cook both new things and our families’ traditional recipes.
We decided to have a little chat about the food we love and miss the most from our countries and I was surprised at how much she enjoyed Romanian food even though it’s so different from Japanese cuisine.
You can keep reading to learn more about it (or just about Romanian cuisine in general), or click here to see how much I miss Japanese food.
DD: So, what is your favourite food from everything my family’s had you try?
KO: So many things, salata de vinite [eggplant spread], salata boeuf [contrary to the name, there is no beef in this salad], sarmale [Romanian pickled cabbage rolls].
DD: So basically the Romanian classics?
KO: YES! Also, the cold cuts we had for the appetizers were so good, especially kaizer [a bacon looking cold cut].
DD: Laughs My mom would be happy to hear all this. How about the food that I cook? Do you have any favourites?
KO: Hmm, your hashbrowns and pastas are so delicious, but also the deserts you’ve made. The banana chocolate cake and especially the Romanian cozonac [typical sweet Romanian ‘bread’ filled with cocoa, nuts and/or Turkish Delight].
DD: I’m glad you liked the cozonac! It was the first time I tried to make it, I will definitely improve it next time! But how about the opposite then? Was there anything you couldn’t eat?
KO: Food wise, no, not really, I tried and enjoyed almost everything. BUT THE HOT PEPPERS. YOU ALL SAID IT’S FINE AND THEY WEREN’T HOT AND I TRUSTED YOU.
DD: Hey, you also took a very big bite! But, yea, my family likes to eat raw hot peppers with soups or sarmale, or other Romanian foods.
KO: Yes, and raw onions.
DD: Laughs. Ah yes, another classic Romanian tradition. Is there anything you miss from Canada or Romania? Food wise, I mean.
KO: Several things we can’t really find here or we can’t make as good: gogosari [pickled peppers], zacusca [an eggplant+tomato+pepper spread], all the cold cuts we had in Romania, mici [typical Romanian ‘sausage’, always barbecued], and even Romanian feta cheese. I don’t even eat cheese usually, but it was so good!
DD: Well, I guess that sort of answers my next question. I was going to ask if there was anything you ate that you enjoyed, though you never thought you would? Besides feta cheese, I guess.
KO: Yes, also mici. I usually hate eating lamb, but since mici have mixed lamb meat with other minced meats, you can’t taste it and they’re so yummy!
DD: Yeah, I agree, I feel the same away, as you know! Is there anything you want us to try to cook at home?
KO: Hmm, we already made salata de vinete [eggplant spread], but I’d love to make mici or zacusca!
DD: Ah, well zacusca is fairly easy to make, but honestly it’s very rare for us to make mici at home. We usually buy them from the store. Also they taste much better if you have a charcoal barbecue. Anyway, one last question! Was there anything else that surprised you about our eating habits?
KO: Well, I already mentioned the raw onions, but you also have a random glass of green onions on the table for appetizers that people just eat raw! You also eat stuffed peppers with yoghurt, which was very strange for me. I like those two things separately, not together laughs. Oh, and your muraturi [pickled vegetables] also had pickled green tomatoes. I had never seen or eaten that before!
DD: Interesting, a lot of my friends who have tried Romanian food before were usually surprised or appalled at some of the dishes, such as tripe soup, or piftie [might want to Google this one, my explanation would not do it justice]. But you didn’t mention any of them.
KO: Nope, everything was delicious, hopefully we can become experts in cooking all this stuff!
DD: Well, maybe it’s because I grew up with this food, but I strongly prefer Japanese cuisine – not to mention it’s much healthier. So let’s at least alternate between the two. Laughs.