Friday, June 12, 2009

Deliciousness Follows!

Zdraveytey once again, everyone!

By popular demand, the topic for today will be FOOD. One quick linguistic digression before I begin: my greeting ‘zdraveytey’ is a common formal/plural greeting and the pronunciation (if you can do the IPA) is [zdravete]. In other words, it’s pronounced essentially just as I typed it. Of course it looks completely different in cyrilic: ЗДРАВЕЙТЕ. If the spelling is wrong, please correct me, my Bulgarian friends.

Onto the food. Deliciousness follows:

The first piece of food I wish to share with you is called Banitsa. This dessert is a traditional Bulgarian recipe (at least that’s what the Peace Corps wants us to believe) and every household tends to have a different recipe much like rakia. (If rakia sounds unfamiliar to you, look back a couple entries where I tell you how drunk it gets you. And by you I mean me.) It’s essentially a rolled pastry that contains fruit or cheese inside. You start by getting some very thin, read paper thin, bread. These are pretty similar to the kind you could get in an Ethiopian restaurant, I believe. Next, cover one sheet with a small layer of oil. In the household I learned this, we then placed another layer of bread on top and used a little more oil. Next we added the fruit (apple or pumpkin in this case) and spooned some crushed nuts mixed with cinnamon on top. Then we added two spoons of sugar for flavor enhancement. Finally we rolled it up and placed it into a baking pan. After about 8-10 rolls, the pan was filled and we tossed it into the oven for a while. It came out crispy and delicious. Imagine the thinnest and crispiest soft taco shell wrapped around fruit, nuts and cinnamon and when you bite into it, the damn thing feels like it melts in your mouth because it’s so fragile feeling. It’s pretty damn great.

The next one is another wrapped treat. This one is a lunch entrée that I’ve only found in the nearby city of… Budapest… This food is called a Diuner (or Dyuner depending on how you want to phoneticize it. Yeah. I verbed phonetics.) Start with a pita, preferably on the thick side. Fry one side of it to heat it up. Next add cucumbers, shredded lettuce or cabbage, and some kind of yogurt based sauce. This next part blows my mind. You place French fries and grilled chicken on top of all that. Add mayonnaise, ketchup, more yogurt sauce or chili powder as preferred, roll and serve wrapped in a napkin. I’m feeling pretty hungry just thinking about it. Best part: the small (yet very filling) size at the café I eat at sells them fresh for only 2 leva (the Bulgarian Currency). According to my ipod, in America-world that’s only $1.40. And the larger, much more luxurious and delicious size is still less than 2 bucks. I love Bulgaria.

One last thing to note, by request from someone who I believe to be Al Brown, I have begun brainstorming the story for Peace Corpse. It will be a romantic comedy set in the African wilderness. Once again, if you have anything else you wish to hear about, leave requests. Next week I’ll be finding out my permanent site and I think I’ll have more frequent updates.

This is the Peace Corps and I think I’m gaining weight.



  1. Pictures?
    Of the food, of your home, of the people, of the animals, of the outhouse? :-)

  2. Oh, and we're SO trying that sandwich tonight as soon as I get home.

  3. The spelling is just fine:)

    There is much more bulgarian food to be tried.
    And yes, you'll gain weight if you are not careful:)

  4. Indeed, the request was from I, Big Al Brown. And I also request pictures!

  5. Except my name keeps changing. I declare this whole account thing to be weird.

  6. Ok!
    Jamaican style Diuner:
    Pita bread from Susie's Bakery, lightly fried on one side in EV olive oil.
    Shredded Romaine lettuce, followed by thinly sliced cucumbers and onions. We spread some thin, home-made labneh (yogurt cheese) that had roasted garlic and EV olive oil mixed into it.
    Topped that with seasoned french fries from Island Grill. Used a sliced-up baked potato for dad since he can't eat stuff from Island Grill. Finished off with chicken chunks from a 'Best Dressed' rotisserie jerk chicken. More labneh.
    Sorry for the complete lack of sentence structure...too stuffed to think properly. I think this may become a family staple. Thanks, Zack!

  7. i think i'm jealous. yep. that sounds really good.

  8. Hmm. Banitsa sounds a lot like Samosa. Do you know if there has been any culinary influence from Africa or from East-Asia to bring in such a thing? The paper-thin bread is especially reminiscent. Although if it is thicker, and more like the Ethiopian bread, than maybe not.

  9. Thanks for the IPA ;)

  10. sounds like döner kebab. that's what we eat in spain. although it's really from turkey. and the best ones are actually in germany. or so i hear. but it's yummy. anyway. keep eating?