Categorizing Romanian Food

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19 Jun 2008

Here is some info I dug up. Perhaps it will shed some light on your question.

Romania has had influence from both invaders and neighbors where its traditional cuisine is concerned. Romania’s traditional food sees touches of Turkish, Hungarian, Austrian, and other cuisines, but over the years, these dishes have become just as traditional as the oldest Romanian traditional foods.

Typical Dishes: Romanian traditional foods heavily feature meat. Cabbage rolls, sausages, and stews (like tocanita) are popular main dishes. You can also sample traditional Romanian fish dishes, like the salty, grilled carp called saramura.

Romanian Traditional Foods – Soups and Appetizers and Side Dishes in Romania: Soups – made with or without meat, or made with fish – are usually offered on menus at Romanian restaurants. Zama is a green bean soup with chicken, parsley, and dill. You may also encounter pilaf and moussaka, vegetables prepared in various ways (including stuffed peppers), and polenta.

Romanian Traditional Foods – Desserts of Romanian Cuisine: Traditional Romanian desserts may resemble baklava. Other pastries may best be described as danishes (pastries with cheese filling). Crepes with various fillings and toppings may also be on the typical Romanian dessert menu.

Norman Green commented (6/20/08):

Even the great song “Romania, Romania” mentions two other foods essential to Romania. One is pastrami (“pastrameleh” in the song, as I recall) and mamaliga, which is closely related to corn meal mush and to polenta. It is essential to Romanian cuisine.

Our family is not Romanian, but had a Romanian boarder in the late 20’s and early 30’s in Cleveland, I believe named Mr. Berkowitz, who later died in the Holocaust. He used to take corn meal mush, using the recipe on the Alber’s Corn Meal box, layer it with chunks of natural Swiss and cheddar cheese — lots of cheese — an bake. Two generations later, it is still a family favorite, and sometimes we throw in some fresh mushrooms too.

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