What are some of your favorite types of food? Do you like to investigate new things? If you’re adventurous, there’s lots of interesting foods to taste when you travel to a new country. While I’ve been in Macedonia my new friends have invited me to try many wonderful dishes. You can check out a few of them over to the right. My mouth waters just looking at these pictures!
I’ve found that there’s several senses involved while experiencing a new food too. For example, sight can be just as important as taste. One of my favorite things to eat in Macedonia is a salad called шопска, or shopska. Shopska contains fire truck red tomatoes and crisp, jade green cucumbers. White cheese tops the salad making it look like a small summit of snow caped vegetables. It’s very colorful and also very delicious.
I think I might be able to guess what some of you are thinking. “Salad? That’s gross.” I can honestly say though that this is one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. It’s mostly because of the white cheese. Macedonian white cheese orсирене is like no other cheese I’ve found at my local grocery store at home. It’s salty and creamy and balances the juices in the tomatoes and cucumbers perfectly.
Another reason I enjoy shopska might be that fruits and vegetables in Macedonia are really fresh. Every Friday in Štip, people come to town for a special open market where lots and lots of yummy produce can be bought. The open market, or пазар, assortment of fruits and vegetables, and I’m told that all of the vegetables available are grown right here in Macedonia.
In addition to shopska, I’ve also tried pastrmajlija. Pastrmajlija consists of delicious fresh bread and either chicken or pork niblets. A small green pepper called џинка, or jinka, usually comes with it. These little peppers pack a huge taste! They are very spicy. I found the best way to eat them was to take a bite and then eat some of the bread from my pastrmajlija. Štip, the city where I live, is well known among Macedonian cities for it’s pastrmajlija. Each year in the fall there is a festival to celebrate it. Many different restaurant around town prepare pastrmajlija for this event and there’s lots of live music. It’s a great party!
During my first month in Macedonia, my language tutor showed my roommate and me how to cook a typical Macedonian dinner. We made musaka.
Musaka tastes a little like a cross between lasagna and beef stew without the beef. It was very tasty and is a great meal for the fall or winter.
The ingredients for our musaka included: onion, garlic, egg, yogurt, minced meat, carrots, dried ground red pepper, flower, water and potatoes. First, we diced the onion and garlic into small pieces and sautéed the mixed meat. Then, we added minced carrots. While the mixed meat sautéed, we set the oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the oven preheated and the mixed meat cooked, we diced potatoes and placed them in a baking dish. Next, we poured a mixture of spices and flour in with the mixed meet cooking on the stove. Once the mixed meat was warm, we combined it with the potatoes and some water in the baking dish. We then put all of the contents into the oven to bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, we added an egg/yogurt mixture to the dish and cooked it for another 10 minutes.
Musaka is connected closely with what’s available and grown in Macedonia. All of the vegetables included are grown in Macedonia. This makes the dish even more tasty.