My house here is about a two-minute walk from the local supermarket (and cafe); on my way home from school, meaning that I average about nine trips to the supermarket a week (at least so far). Sometimes I go alone to get something, sometimes just to explore (and try to read the labels in Romanian) and other times with Anastasia to pick up something for her Grandmom, my host mother. Often, I use my broken Romanian to attempt to ask for help in finding various products, from the cashiers or security guards.
Its probably not surprising given the fact that this is a small town (by Moldovan standards its medium sized, but by American small), that I know several of cashiers well enough that we say hello when we see each other places outside the market. (In fact I ran into one of them on the streets of Chisinau on Thursday!)
Today, I went to the supermarket three times. The first two with Anastasia, for macaroni and then again for more macaroni. The third time was to gather supplies for an attempt at baking cookies in Moldova. Tomorrow is a fellow PCV, Max’s 23rd birthday. Since we have class tomorrow, a couple of girls and I decided that as a fun Friday night activity and to provide a treat for everyone during class breaks Saturday we would make cookies for Max’s birthday.
I chose a simple oatmeal cookie recipe, (see below) but as soon as we got to the grocery store, we realized this might be more difficult than we had anticipated. The labels here are all in Romanian or Russian, meaning that google translate and some help from one of my favorite cashiers was needed to even find all the ingredients. We realized that the ingredients, especially the butter which was nearly 50 lei alone (just over $4 american) was going to really stretch our budgets (we’ve been given about $2.20 a day), but decided to splurge on the adventure.
When we got to Kate’s house (her host mom had said it was fine for us to come over and make them) we met her younger host brother Nicu, who provided us with entertainment during our baking process. We couldn’t find any measuring cups, so we decided to use a mug and taste test. The first few batches turned out a little burnt of the bottom, but by the last one we turned the oven down and started making the cookies a little flatter and they were perfect. After the initial hurdles it ended up being a great evening, filled with laughs, dancing, games, way too much cookie dough – the first baking adventure could not have been more of a success!
1 cup flour
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cup oats
2 tsp. baking soda
Pre-heat oven to 350 and allow to bake for about eight minutes. We added a chopped up bar of cappuccino chocolate per batch and it was the perfect amount of chocolate! (I might have enjoyed some chopped walnuts or shaved almonds in the cookies for a little more texture, but next time!)
The Romanian happy birthday song is really beautiful when sung by someone who knows how; it’s lilting and perfect, but I have yet to find a good version of it on YouTube and Anastasia won’t let me record her singing it (she’s got an amazing singing voice), so enjoy these videos until I can find a better one to share: La Multi Ani from Talking Tom and La Multi Ani from Ginger. Anastasia showed these to me – hope you get a kick out of them and happy Friday!