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November 14, 2005

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Carlos

I've had it in Italy, at pizzerias. (In NYC, people actually use napkins like blotting paper to sop up the oil. WTH?)

No roasted peppers in Romania? Or you could stuff them with brinza.

Oskar L.

Even though I like Balkan food (I like most food) it's true they're not very good with spices. Sure, roast pork and cevapcici are nice, but not very exciting. I think the cuisine would really improve if they started adding more spices to it (though when I've asked, the reply has been that this is good food and thus doesn't need any spices).

Victor

Well ... not everybody in Romania love spicy food (I mean really spicy ... like hot). This is the main reason you get hot peppers ... on the side! And I guess it's the same everywhere (not to mention those picky american "guests"). There is a dish in southern Romania (somewhere in Teleorman county or close ... southern Romania anyway) that's made from hot peppers! Do you think you can eat something hot?! Taste that thing ... and you'll change your mind about it! You won't want to sweat again ... EVER! :)

Francis Burdett

A question I have for y'all is why do individuals like spicy or "hot" foods?

I ask this as one who doesn't really like spicy food or peppers of any kind and has a low tolerance for "hot" sauce.

Carlos

A little bit of heat 'brightens' the taste of food. For instance, tonight I made chickpeas, cooked in a little lemon and broth and olive oil. Good, but with a little cayenne pepper, very good.

You get diminishing returns with hotter peppers, but then the endorphins kick in. I actually like food hot enough to sweat. It feels like I'm being physiologically balanced from the food. Refreshing.

And some very hot peppers, like habaneros, are extremely flavorful.

Eduard

Traditional Romanian food, except for a few very distinct dishes (like "saramura", a spicy salty fish soup), is spiced *only* with bayleaf, lovage, basil, salt and pepper. "Ardei" of the hot green kind are used on the side, and yes, a lot of Romanians eat food along with them. The only other spicy side is the "mujdei" which is a sauce from raw crushed garlic in hot water, and it's usually poured over chicken, steak or fries.

We do have filled peppers in the oven (ardei umplutzi) but they are the standard green ones and not the latin/oriental spicy varieties. We occasionally have sour as a taste in food, for example in "ciorba" or "sarmale", both using marinated sour cabbage.

Almost never sweet or spicy built-into the dishes, though gypsy cooking uses either or both, am not really sure.

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