Monday Meal Review: Moldova

THE SCENE

Two days before I cooked Moldova I was invited to Tulsa’s local United Nations annual meeting. While there I listened to very intelligent people talk about things which are generally beyond the scope of my daily duties – being a good mother, working hard, and playing harder.

Let’s just say they talked about how to solve problems on a global scale. And it was amazing.

Still, even as cheerleader to the world, I felt out of place. Not because I’m not interested, but simply because I feel that I don’t know enough to contribute intelligently. For the topic at hand, an almost 200 year of history had to be summarized before the discussion could even begin. There’s no way I know that much history about anything (except for my rogue obsession with Arthurian legend).

But then it hit me. As I watched serious people explore serious issues in the world, I realized that my feeling of isolation in the discussion was probably not unique.

I believe there are millions of people like me who are interested in the world, but intimidated by all the “big talkers.” Who want to celebrate the world, but feel daunted by the degree of information there is to know about the world – how much of an expert you have to be to feel like you can even open your mouth. You know, without having someone give you the evil eye or make fun of you.

I’ll be honest – it sometime makes me want to bury my head in the sand and just focus on life in the immediate here and now. The non-global here. The non-connected now.

How sad for me. For us. The global us – our global family.

 But here’s the thing: you don’t need a degree to know about love.

To share and receive love.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

Love.

We can’t give up just because we don’t feel qualified. We are the world. That alone makes us qualified to take an interest.

I’m here to tell you right now – Global Table Adventure is a space where it’s okay to be just a regular person celebrating the world.

There are no experts here – I’m just a mom trying food with my family. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m still having fun, learning and growing in appreciation and wonder every single day.

By not talking about politics or religion we’re going for happy, elbows on the table, hands on the wine glass, dinnertime conversation. This is an open space for friendly dialog. More “What’s for dinner?”, “How’s the weather where you are?” and “Isn’t this food neat!? I can’t wait to try it.”

And then, as so many of you have told me, you go ahead and try it. You’re experiencing the world.

And that’s how we become closer.

How we individuals can do our small part to celebrate the world.

Because, after all, isn’t that what our days are all about? The little conversations. The small connections. The big smiles.

Dinner?

We can get there through the food.

That’s what we’re here for.

THE FOOD

Mamaliga (Dense Cornmeal “Bread”) [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

For starters, there’s something at once fascinating and therapeutic about cooking cornmeal so long that a wooden spoon sticks straight up into it. Additionally, I love that this dish can be made ahead and chilled until needed (even a day ahead). I also like the novelty of cutting this with a piece of fishing line – it’s definitely a conversation starter.

Ava gobbled this up, but had no interest in the sour cream. Mr Picky thought it was just fine. The sour cream made for a surprisingly nice, creamy topping and ended up making the entire dish feel more elegant, although I was the only one who braved it.

What I loved least about this dish:

I think it would be great to add some other flavors to this dish – I’ve seen some recipes where they press it into a casserole, add cheese, and bake it. Sounds fantastic to me – perhaps we’ll try this with Romania, as they enjoy Mamaliga as well.

Veggie & Feta Stuffed Zucchini [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

This was my first time making stuffed zucchini (what, what?). I loved it. Thankfully the dish was easy to make and had great garden flavor and great visual appeal. Speaking of firsts, I wonder if this is the first time I’ve used celery on this Adventure… when I was shopping I really couldn’t think of another time I’ve purchased the stuff in the last couple of years. How strange. Anyway, I’ll be making this one again and again.

What I loved least about this dish:

Ava loved making these, but she couldn’t get past the texture. We’ll have to try again in a few months… because she said she liked the taste. Or maybe I can chop it up finer. Not sure. Be sure that the tomato sauce easily coats the bottom of your lasagna pan, otherwise the edges might dry out and burn. You can always thin it with a little water or vinegar, if desired.

Moldovan Preserved Peppers [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Everything. I love how it’s a dump and boil kind of dish – nothing complicated about it. I enjoy eating it by itself, with fish, in sandwiches (in fish sandwiches, even), on bread, with pasta… you name it. Even Mr Picky, who doesn’t like any sort of vinegar really enjoyed these. I suppose because the flavor is mild.

What I loved least about this dish:

Nothing, except watch out for the peppercorns. They are a spicy surprise if you’re not expecting ‘em! Also, when you refrigerate after opening, be sure to bring back to room temperature before eating (the solidified olive oil is not exceedingly appetzing).

Ava’s Corner

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Comments

  1. In Italy they cut polenta with a line or thin wire too, it is supposed to be the “right” way. Another global concept. Tiny things that bring us together rather than set us apart.

  2. When the smartest, most powerful world leaders meet to negotiate the most complex problems, they always meet over dinner! I think you’ve just explained why.

    You have used celery a few times before.
    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&site=&source=hp&q=celery+site%3Aglobaltableadventure.com&btnK=Google+Search&oq=&aq=&aqi=&aql=&gs_nf=&gs_l=

    • Sasha Martin says:

      There was once a plan for the world’s religious leaders to meet in a hot tub (I read about it in No Impact Man) – maybe if they had dinner first it might have happened. :) Here’s a quote about it “Many years ago, Zen Master Seung Sahn decided that world peace would be achieved if the great religious leaders got together to hash things out—in a hot tub. He didn’t check. Instead, he flew all the way to Rome to try to convince the Pope to convene a meeting of religious leaders in, yes, a hot tub. ” from here: http://www.wisdom-books.com/FocusDetail.asp?FocusRef=86

      And phew on the celery – it’s pretty basic in most of the northern hemisphere, after all!

  3. Ruby Libertus says:

    I was so glad to be a part of the UNA night with you and to enjoy the food from Moldova. Its an interesting conversation and in the end even the minute contribution to making the world better or more peaceful is important. Each person can contribute and they don’t have to feel like the smartest, sometimes even the most unexpected person or oddest contribution happens that blows us away or makes us smile. It all counts.
    Today we had a International Mock Luncheon with students and faculty portraying various International or famous personalities with everyone making speeches as that particular person and it made for an interesting and fun event.

  4. Celeste Childress says:

    Sasha – Often in organizations, the element of Love is missing and is replaced by desire for power. Love is person-to-person-to person but has no boundaries.

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