Thursday, October 3, 2013

Peel Your Teeth

Zim filling the dumpling dough with spiced apples, while Harmony rolled.

Hello all!

Though it might be hard to discern from today's posting title, our topic of the day was actually food and preparation of dishes for vocabulary building. We learned that the same word is used for peeling carrots as
"brushing" your teeth. Since apparently you are merely peeling off a layer of plaque, I suppose this makes sense! However, one must chop vegetables and cut wood. However, "Super Soup" is funny in both languages, so that's a win. But, first things first - the visitation!

Dignitaries and Tea
 So we naturally needed to buy groceries for cooking, and also had to make sure we were stocked up on cookies and tea/coffee. We had the country director come and visit, and we could tell that he'd been looking at his print out. Especially since he not only told us, but also accidentally left his packet behind when he left...He and his second in command, a lady Ukrainian-native filled us in on odd facts about Roshen brand chocolate (the country's premier maker who has been a politician and other such nefarious positions). Apparently the chocolatier gave Russia's P-man's advisor a good talking to about Russian media spreading a rumor that they were making tainted chocolate (with the EU joining proposition sitting on the table, things have become a little tense,to put it lightly, in the trade world between Ukraine and Russia).

We were also encouraged to share stories, and so several misadventures spilled out for their enjoyment. When warned about the bathroom, the Ukrainian lady informed me that she had locked herself in that very room previously!! So that made me feel better as well! It was a lovely time, and nice that he makes the effort to at least briefly visit each group as we are settling in. He had to run to a meeting with the president of the Ukrainian professional soccer federation, as they are looking to partner on events at games that would involve free HIV testing.

борщ and вареники
So, that was our menu today. Contrary to what I had believed before coming to Ukraine, borscht is not only made from beets. In fact, the only thing that seems to differentiate the two is that soup does not contain beets. Curly took the lead (and yes, it is a challenge to have two alpha cooks in a kitchen, especially with 3 other people in a very limited space!) and after some intense discussion of the recipe (which was feasible only in some aspects), we were soon all hard at work and having a good time. Sparta enjoyed pestering us with questions about what we were doing in Ukrainian (we had just "learned" verbs for mixing, chopping, shaping dough, etc) and we had to be quite creative with our limited resources. Thankfully, Hugo 

Hugo, Who made this especially pouty face especially for his blog debut
Or is possibly just sad because his Babuysa wouldn't let him shower again...

brought his potato peeler, measuring cups and spoons. So that was great for measuring flour for the apple dumplings and peeling the potatoes. The food turned out stupendously. I'd had my doubts about not using bouillon, but I'd eat Curly's borscht any day! We also got compliments from our technical advisor and Sparta. (Who, upon discovering he indeed did not have sour cream for the borscht, ran out and bought some!) So we were pretty proud of ourselves. Unfortunately, I think I got a bit overheated in the kitchen, and after lunch did not feel the best. However, I perked up about an hour after getting home. I am sure that cultural shock is due to set in soon, and I am promising myself to take it one day at a time! Luckily, my days are structured, I genuinely enjoy my clustermates and teacher, and I find the work so far rewarding.
I have two more picture for you (Curly kept dancing around to her iPad as I was taking them of her, and so they were blurry, but there is also a better one of Harmony with Zim!).

Hope all is well!


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