Happy hogs at the sheepfold where we had an epic party. This is a long way from factory farms.
I spent 16 days in Romania in June and July, singing, dancing and eating with the Kulshan Chorus.
Nearly every meal featured soup. One night we had lamb soup followed by mutton stew. After a few days I started keeping a soup diary. Here are some of the combinations:
In Botiza –Moldavia
Vegetarian cream of potato with green and yellow beans, served in the priest’s pavilion
Carrot, cauliflower, green pepper, in beef stock with small pasta
At the sheepfold outside Gura Humurului (say that 3 times fast)
Soup—lamb shanks, lamb broth, onion, carrot, red sweet pepper, potato, amaranth (maybe), sour cream
Chicken broth with potatoes, slivers of carrot, tarragon, ham hock
Potato, carrot, broth, with sausage
Leek, potato, and maybe a bit of squash
This is only a sampling. It took me awhile to start writing them down.
The soup I would love to try and only heard about, from Dan our mensch of a guide, is Nettle Ciorba.
I've made ciorbas. They are a Romanian specialty that is a bit like Greek egg lemon soup, with sauerkraut or sour cream instead of the lemon. Dan said in his family it was an early spring dish, using
Nearly every Romanian household that is not stuck in one of those depressing Soviet-era apartment blocks keeps a small laying flock, so a fresh egg is easy. The nettles can be gathered at the edge of the woods. Carrots, and onions are long-keeping garden staples, and at least the country households make their own sour cream in quantity. Except for the rice--and you could substitute potatoes--most people could make this without a trip to the store. During the 1970s and '80s when food was increasingly scarce, this was no small benefit. Mushroom ciorba, another classic, makes use of the giant boletes found in abundance in the Transylvanian mountains.
Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Potato salad at breakfast. Fried potatoes, roast potatoes, potato soup.