Sunday, September 27, 2009
It's Sunday and 3 of us have travelled into Kumanova for the day and we're catching up on all things internet in the big bakery here, Zafir. Last night I was walking home from talking to Chris on Skype (congrats again, Chris) when the mother of one of the other trainees beckoned me into her yard. 3 other of the 6 trainees in Cherkeze were already there, and the atmosphere was quite festive. She was making the traditional sauce here, ajvar, which is made up of about a zillion red peppers which have been roasted on a barbecue like device, peeled, chopped and cooked with onions and oil outdoors over a fire. She offered us all a taste, which we gladly accepted. All her daughters were around helping us - the family is so sweet and adorable. It was getting dark, and someone handed me something that looked like a round pepper. I couldn't figure out what to do with it so eventually I dropped it into the ajvar. There was a collective gasp and then everyone broke out in laughter - turned out it was a salt shaker! Ah, adventures in miscommunication! But we all had a good laugh and it added to the joy in the air. It's so interesting to watch the different ways of cooking and eating. My mom makes pita, which is Albanian pie. She first make phyllo dough by rolling out dough on a round table with a rod, then throwing the dough in the air until it's paper thin. Then she does some slices around the outside, coats the dough with oil, and folds in a section, repeating it until all the sections have been folded in. She puts a mixture of peppers, carrots and onions on top, then covers it with another layer of phyllo and bakes it in the low, round oven they use for many things. It is very good and very filling.
It's harvest, and the air is filled with smoke, ajvar smells, and harvested alfalfa. They harvest the old way, using a hand rake and tossing it up on a wagon. I often think that life here is like Marlow in the 30's, small stores with a variety of goods for every 100 people or so, everyone with a garden, chickens, and a animal or two in the yard. But there are signs things are changing. Two of my sisters want to be doctors, and the third a computer expert. They're always on the computer, using Windows live to talk to friends and family all over the world. It's an interesting time, an overlap between the old ways and the new. I feel so privileged to be able to experience it. Okay, I'll publish this ad see if I can remember how to attach a picture or two.
Posted by Candice Wiggum at 5:18 AM