Everyone has been asking me about the food here, so I decided to devote a post to …food. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are no food pictures in this post. Sorry, guys, food porn doesn’t do it for me. I can’t bring myself to take a picture of a meal, because then I’d be like all the other a-holes in the world, taking pictures of their meals.
I like to eat, and I’m not a picky eater. That said, food doesn’t get me all hot and bothered. I lived in Chicago before I came to Kosovo, which is, admittedly, a city famous for its food. But I could never get into this chef or that restaurant or whatever. Chicago is also a town where every hipster and their g-maw is trying to start their own food business. I seriously don’t get the appeal.
So that’s my long-winded way of saying, sorry guys, I’m not the best person to ask about the food here. People want to know … is Albanian food like Mediterranean food? Is it like Middle Eastern food? And I’m like … I don’t know. It’s Albanian food! They eat meat and vegetables and starch, like most of the rest of the world.
I will say that white bread is huge here. HUGE! So much bread. In fact, the Albanian word for bread (buke) is also used in general to mean breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
As for traditional food, pite is a popular thing. It’s a kind of filo dough baked with spinach and onion inside.
My host family doesn’t eat pork for religious reasons, so the meat we eat is chicken or sausage (which I’m assuming is beef or lamb).
I wasn’t a big soup eater in the United States, but some of the best meals my host mother has made have been soups. She made a noodle soup the other day that reminded me of Mrs. Grass soup (you know, the kind with the egg that was fun to drop into the pot as a kid). (Obviously, my host mother’s tasted much better because hers was homemade.) She’s also made a really good bean soup (which I’ve heard is popular here). And then last night, she made a delicious chicken and rice soup that tasted just like the kind my (real) mom makes. I tried to convey that to her. “My mama,” I said, pointing to myself. And then, because I don’t know the Albanian word for “makes,” I said it in English, and then I pointed to the soup and said, “supe shume mire” (soup very good). I think she understood what I was saying.
On Saturday, my youngest host brother asked about foods I like and foods I don’t like. I mentioned spaghetti is one of my favorite foods, so guess what my host mother made Sunday evening? 🙂 It didn’t have a traditional red sauce … It contained some type of oil, I think, mixed with sausage. But it was tasty.
Last night, on our hike after dinner, my host mother licked her thumb and dragged it across my face. Apparently, I had taken some of my meal with me. (Eww, please don’t lick my face.) But I guess I am one of the family now. 🙂