Trying new foods is an adventure!

A common question I have received from friends and family at home has been about food. I had shared back in September 2014 about some traditional Moldovan foods I have been eating – some on a regular basis. As my time continues rapidly here in Moldova, I find myself on an adventure most days when it comes to the food.

These are some recent dishes that have been interesting to me and have caused the most laughter in my host family home because either my reaction to it or because of inside jokes we now have that usually happen while we are sitting around the kitchen table.

Let’s start with the pork… I’ve eaten a lot of tasty pork lately but these two had me asking lots of questions…

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This is pig skin, or better known as pork rind…and it’s fresh. I tried a tiny bit of it and that’s as far as I have gotten.
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And then this is also pork and from my interpretations, pork rind as well? Correct me if I am wrong for those of you who know.

And then one evening when we were celebrating old New Years (January 14), I was highly entertained by this lovely surprise on the kitchen table…

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A giant burrito…. oh, wait… it’s a surprise?!
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….surprise! We have a whole roasted chicken wrapped in a giant burrito-type-bread. It was delicious — I think the highlight for my host family that night was my reaction to seeing this culinary creation.

And then, we have some of my favorite kitchen-moments — when my host dad makes his special, secret salata (salad). Occasionally, there will be moments when he takes a bunch of ingredients and either goes into the other room or the balcony table and hides while he makes his “secret salata”. Then, he’ll bring it out all fancy-like with a big smile and we all have a good laugh and try his new creation – usually involving beer snacks, mayo, and sunflower seeds.

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My host dad presenting some of his secret-salata creations. This one was one of my favorites – beer snacks, sunflower seeds, mayo and pomegranate seeds. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!

And then, we have another type salata (salad), this time I believe it’s a traditional Eastern European/Russian salad that is like Shuba, which also goes by the name “herring under a fur coat” but this version doesn’t have any herring in it. I just learned how to make this the other night and have found it to be another favorite salata.

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This red beet salad has red beets, garlic, crushed walnuts, and mayo (lots of mayo).

And lastly… we have the pickled watermelon. My host family has a garden where this little watermelon is from and they brined/pickled it for the winter. I personally am not a fan of it – but they love it.

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Pickled watermelon – have you had it before? What did you think?

Speaking of pickled foods…. I have a funny story from the other day; in fact we are still laughing about it here. Maybe it won’t be as funny to you as it has been to me and my host family. So, the other morning my host mom was making a kind of Russian soup that had pickles in it. She told me the names of the things that she was putting in the soup as I was eating breakfast… “castraveti murati” (pickled cucumbers)… and I replied oh so confidently,” Oh yea! castraveti mort!”…. and she bursts into laughter — me with no clue why until she starts exclaiming “mort?!” and asking me if that’s what I really said, which was “dead cucumbers” — that’s what I had learned or picked up somehow… but in all reality, I misunderstood the mispronouncing of “murati” vs. “mort” — which makes a difference in this situation. And now we laugh when my host mom pulls out the preserved foods – like I said, every day is an adventure when it comes to the food — and I hopefully I will no longer call my food “dead”.

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