June 13

June 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Posted in Transylvania | Leave a comment
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June 13: In the palm of your hand.
I spent the afternoon at a fellow expat and Indian native’s house enjoying cuisine from South India. She prepared it all, from a chicken stew to a lentil pudding to two kinds of chutney and a buttermilk aperitif. It was delicious! And it was a wonderful (but sad … tears were shed) way to wrap up my involvement with the international community of women here in Cluj.

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
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.
See the photos.

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April 10

April 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Transylvania | Leave a comment
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April 10: Line drive.
This is how most Romanians wait in line … a little to the left, a little to the right, all looking for the perfect moment to make their move up to the front. But the sarmale, mici, and other grilled goodies this crowd is waiting for? I’d cut in line, too.

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

January 5

January 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Posted in Lollipop, Me, Transylvania | 1 Comment
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January 5: Just a sprinkle.
This afternoon Lollipop and I made good use of four bottles of sprinkles and tubes of food coloring a friend from the States sent us … I’m pretty sure we have enough sugar cookies to last us till the end of the decade. And I’m pretty sure, with all the artificial flavor and coloring we put in them, they’ll last that long!

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

October 22

October 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Posted in Transylvania | 4 Comments
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October 22: Soup’s on.
It’s soup time in Romania. The weather is chilly, and the harvest is waning. It’s pretty common to chuck whatever vegetables you have, along with some porc or vită, into one of these cauldrons and cook it in your backyard. We’ve even been to several restaurants where the chefs are cooking up a supă or ciorbă of some kind. Can’t you just smell it simmering?

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

October 9

October 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Family, Lollipop, Transylvania | 1 Comment
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October 9: Baking lessons.
My mom worked through her jet lag today by baking an apple cake with the kiddos. (It’s apple season here in Romania.) Lollipop immediately put on her favorite apron and drug over a chair to help. She loves baking, whether it’s make-believe or real. We all sampled the finished product after dinner, and it was scrumptious. The recipe was even called “Romanian Apple Cake”!

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

October 5

October 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Posted in Transylvania | 20 Comments
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October 5: Yum.
These were the goods at our local Romanian produce stand this afternoon — peaches, pears, grapes, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, corn, potatoes, onions, cabbage, peppers, and even some strange new ones that I’m just learning to cook with, like parsley root. What a bounty! Everyone says to take advantage of it now, while there’s plenty to choose from. Come winter, fresh, cheap produce will be hard to come by, unlike in the States where you can get just about anything at any time from anywhere in the world … I don’t even want to think about the carbon footprint that causes! Instead, I’ll focus on the sheer yumminess of a local harvest and savor it while I can.

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

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Y is for yum. See more Ys at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

September 22

September 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Me, Transylvania | 2 Comments
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September 22: Simple things.
I peeled this bunch of carrots yesterday. That statement doesn’t seem very exciting in and of itself, but consider this: In the States, I would have ripped open my plastic bag of pre-washed, pre-cut carrots and started slicing. Actually, I probably would have decided on something for dinner that didn’t require slicing since I can’t stand at the kitchen counter. But yesterday, I got to participate in preparing a meal for my family, something I haven’t done in quite a while (unless it’s ordering pizza on the Internet). And I got to feel every speck of dirt, every lingering root, every gnarl on honest-to-goodness carrots someone pulled from the ground not too long ago. It was such a simple thing, but such a profound one, too.

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

September 10

September 11, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in Family, Transylvania | 4 Comments
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September 10: Fresh air.
We received an impromptu invitation from friends to come over and enjoy a cookout at their house tonight. When they called, I was still in my pajamas, hadn’t brushed my teeth yet, and was feeling generally tired and sore. Needless to say, I didn’t really feel like going. But I’m so glad I did. They set me up in a really comfy papazan-like chair on their porch, and I watched the kids play on the trampoline and throw balls to each other. I watched the sun set. And I watched plate after plate of delicious food — everything from mămăligă to salata de varza to ciorba de ciuperci — being brought out to us. By the end of the night, we were huddled in jackets and blankets, but our hearts were warm from the friendship and conversation.

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

August 10

August 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Posted in Transylvania | 17 Comments
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August 10: Quintessential Romanian hospitality.
Our neighbors invited us over yesterday for a visit and presented us with these: a humongous container of pickles, a bottle of red currant syrup, and a jar of jam, and all homemade. The jam is best on a cold winter’s day, they told us, and the pickles need to ferment for two more weeks. We sampled some of the syrup at their apartment, mixing it with a glass of cold water to counteract the late-day heat. Gifts like these have come to symbolize quintessential Romanian hospitality for me — it’s not only the gift itself, but also the gift of time and hard work. I only wish I had some homemade food to reciprocate with … Banana bread is about all I can make!

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

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See more Qs at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

June 30

June 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Family, Transylvania | 3 Comments
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June 30: Our first trip to McDonald’s. We held out nearly a month, but last night we needed the comfort of familiar food, straws, and slides. The hamburgers, fries, and nuggets tasted just like home. We even splurged on ketchup packets, which cost more than an ice cream cone.

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Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
.
See the photos.

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