One thing I didn't consider thoroughly before coming to Romania was cooking. I thought about trying new foods and exploring different ingredients. It was exciting to look forward to, and it was as great as expected. Trying Romanian dishes has been one of my favorite parts of this experience. Being able to try new dishes and bond with the people who made it has been amazing. Romanian food is so good! Sarmale is this great traditional dish that's a mixture of rice, meat, and spices that's them wrapped in cabbage leaves to make little 3-inch pockets of delicious-ness. You can never eat just one or two, no, it usually ends up closer to eight or more depending on how big your appetite is. That’s in addition to the bread that is served with every meal. It’s not the boring loaf bread that you may think of, this bread is fresh from a bakery and always tastes amazing. Whether forming a sandwich or being dunked into soup, bread in Romania is amazing.
Actually, all pastries in Romania are amazing. The little bakery section of the nearby grocery store is my favorite part. They always have this pastry that has a tomato-sauce filling so it basically tastes like a pizza, but with flaky pastry instead of dough. The part of cooking that I didn’t consider enough was ingredients. I was so excited to try new things that I didn’t think that things that would be considered common in the States would be entirely absent here. Before coming I had heard how uncommon it was to have peanut butter in a store, but here it really isn’t. I can go buy peanut butter at any of the stores. What I can’t find is chocolate chips. They don’t exist here. If I want to make chocolate chip cookies I have to break up a bar of chocolate for them. Which isn’t hard, but the flavor or texture of the chocolate just isn’t the same. The chocolate is great on its own, but not really for baking. On the other hand, you really can’t beat the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables at the local piața. So overall there are good and bad things about cooking in Romania, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for ingredients.