Smells of Bulgaria: Unknown Substance
Thursday, March 20, 2008
After having spent seven months, 14 days, and about 12 hours in Bulgaria I can say with confidence that it is filled with many smells that are both positive and negative alike. The last two weeks of smells have been somewhat negative in nature, so this week I wanted to highlight a more positive Bulgarian smell.
Last weekend Stacie and I took a trip to our favorite store here in town called Kaufland, a large grocery store somewhat like Fred Meyer back home (but without the obvious essentials like Skippy peanut butter or real brown sugar). They usually have a really great selection of fruits and veggies when they are in season. So last week we were wondering about the expansive produce section and saw sweet potatoes! You can not imagine how excited we were to take these bad boys home and cook them up for dinner! After finishing our other shopping and spending way more than we should have, we took the bus home and turned on the stove.
But after washing our precious potatoes, I began to suspect that something terrible had happened. Once I made the first cut into the gloriousness of our treasure, I discovered that the orangeness of our potatoes had been replaced by a deep dark redness. We had made the tragic and historic mistake of buying beets instead of what we wanted to buy. Who knows if there actually were sweet potatoes there. There was a label on the price list for sweet potatoes, so that is what we paid for, but who knows if they really existed. Sadly, the worst part about the whole thing is not that we did not get sweet potatoes, but it is that we did not have any of the right ingredients to make something good out of our beets. Instead we just sliced them, boiled them, lightly salted them, and ate them for our dinner.
There is a secret motive behind my post for this week. That secret is awareness. If I can help anyone out there not make the same mistake we did then our mistake would have been worth it. Our mistake: not having yogurt or dill on hand to make “Bulgarian Beets with Yogurt” (page 53), or not having one chicken leg on bone or cabbage to make “Ukrainian Borshch” (page 32). Along with an emergency stash of Snickers bars, I believe it is important to always have some of these things.
I leave you with words of caution. If you ever go to the store looking for potatoes, but buy beets instead, be prepared. If you ever go looking for bonboni, but buy beets instead, be prepared. If you ever go looking for soap or some other type of hygienic item but buy beets instead, be prepared. You will never know when this might happen to you and you walk all the way home holding beets instead of what you really wanted to buy, so be prepared.
P.S. The beets actually smelled pretty good.
Posted byJason Smith at 9:10 PM