Land of Dracula, home of the Vampire. On a lighter note, this country has always been a fascination of mine. From factual history to myths and legends, Romania is filled with wonder and beauty. In the harsh landscapes live some of the toughest people on the planet. I was very nervous about the meal at first, as the dishes can be daunting when looking at recipes and imagining your kids trying to eat them. However, as I reflect on this meal, Romania is without a doubt the most underrated food on the list. They have a great mixture of flavors due to their geographical region. One comes across traces of Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern, Northern and Eastern European in their food, but also in their culture.
The easiest thing to get the kids to eat was the kabobs and polenta. Many of the vegetables incorporated into the meal were from our garden, which did instill a sense of pride. In addition, I ensured that I gave them a week's worth of build up talking about Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Impaler, and plenty of Vampire stories. We even watched Hotel Transylvania as a movie for the country.
In regards to the meal itself, the recipes are very easy. There was little stress during the preparation. A couple points to note are the kabobs. Make sure you give them plenty of time to marinade. Also, there are plenty of premixed rubs if you choose to do the pork that have all the ingredients I called for, and then some to boot. Cattleman’s Steakhouse Rub comes to mind, which is available online from several retailers. Also not in the recipe, but I would highly recommend, is injecting the pork if that is the main course you choose. You will be amazed at how much moisture the meat will retain. I typically use apple or white grape juice with several douses (do not be afraid of it) of Worcestershire sauce. It will give it a sweet hint to offset the salty and savory rub.
Lastly, have fun with it. This is a country that is filled with mystery. As recent as 3 years ago someone was arrested for chopping off heads in a graveyard and filling them with garlic. The legend lives on! Additionally, check out an Amadou hat or Mushroom leather. This region is full of resilient people that have the art of folksy down pat. They very much remind me of my Appalachian ancestors, and the whole country is fascinating. From fields of wildflowers to Lake Snagov, this country is worth every minute spent under its spell.
- La Revedere