Monday, September 24, 2007

Cookin' With Gas

Never has that statement had more relevance to my life. Cameron stayed at my apartment for the weekend, since he still doesn't have a place in Timisoara (he may actually have an apartment by October, however). For the time being, he's living in his school's hostel, which means all he has is a bed and a bathroom. So, coming to Lugoj is sort of an escape for him. We took the opportunity to cook...a lot. We started out with fried battered eggplant and a horseradish sauce. That was actaully really good. I found horseradish at the town market, and got instructions on how to make the sauce from one of my fellow English teachers. I don't have a very good grater, so I borrowed one from the hotel across the street. The next day Cameron and I tried our hand at goulash. Cameron found a recipe on the internet. It was a partial success. The recipe called for 350 degrees, and my stove essentially has two settings: full flame, and half flame. So I figured 350 might be full flame. Apparently I figured wrong. When I took out the pot to stir things up half-way through cooking, I discovered that a fair amount of the contents had cemented to the inside of the pot. Needless to say, I stirred everything up, added some water and turned down the heat. Strangely enough, the recipe didn't call for water. Cameron and I did take a moment to wonder about this, but we just figured they knew what they were talking about. Anyway, next time it'll be much better. I think I'm slowly figuring out how to regulate my stove's flame. And even though my pot may have suffered horribly, after 45 minutes of scrubbing it's recovered.

Last Thursday evening was a meeting of the International Friends Club in Timisoara. It was interesting. I met a fair number of PCVs in my area. I also met a few Americans who are living in Timisoara and working for international corporations located here. One was an executive for Nestle Foods in Romania. There were a few employees of Smithfield Farms, a pork producer
from Virginia. I also had the pleasure to meet a musician and professor of music. He's plays the vibraphone as part of a 7-piece group. I hope to catch one of his performances in the future.

School continues. I still haven't done any "real" teaching yet. Today I met the classes I didn't get to meet last week (because Monday was a short day). So, now I'm done with my introductions; it's time to figure out what I'll teach them. I really like all the teachers in the English department. That's a good thing because I'll be sharing classes with all 6 of them. I'll work with half of the class one week, while the teacher works with the other half (and we'll alternate groups every week). It'll be good to work with smaller groups. Hopefully the students will feel more comfortable talking, and with fewer students I should be able to give each of them more time to talk. The schedule is not totally final yet, but I have one 8th grade class, a few 9th, two 10th, a few 11th, and a few 12th. We'll see how my 'real' lessons go in the following weeks.

For those interested, I posted some pictures of my apartment, host family, etc on my picasa page. The link is located on the right side-bar.

Also, in my last post I mentioned a newspaper article about me. After reading about it here, my friend Rachel found the article online. It's in Romanian, but here it is anyway.

Next weekend I'm headed to "Turda Fest," which is a big cultural festival near Cluj, Romania. I'll be working at the 'Slow Cooking' station and I'm happy about that. Here's a brief description of the festival as sent to me in an email:

Turda Fest combines entertainment activities with cultural and artistic activities, specific to the Transylvanian communities, while also sustaining the promoting of agriculture and tourism in Turda and the Apuseni Mountains.

This year, the third edition of this agricultural festival will be held in the 28th, 29th and 30th of September. This is the only festival in Romania that follows the pattern of great European festivals, having been conceived as an answer to the need of developing and organizing of the agricultural field. Among the areas of tradition at Turda Fest, this year's edition comes with novelties and surprises for its participants.

Hot Air Balloon

Through the partnership with the Media On Company in Bucharest, Turda Fest now offers you the possibility of balloon flights in conditions of maximum security.

Turda Fest Cultural 2007

This year, the cultural programme will be structured on the three days of festival as follows: Friday, 28th of September, a programme sustained by representatives from the Romanian historical areas - Ardeal, Maramures, Tara Oasului, Moldova, Regatul; Saturday, 29th of September, traditions of Hungarian, Transylvanian saxon and Jewish ethnies, and on Sunday, 30th of September a programme presenting the Rroma culture will be held.

This year we will try to bring forth the atmosphere of Romanian villages, the keepers of century-old traditions, by setting the cultural theme into an area of “courtship” and presenting traditional dances linked to this theme.

Pageant Parade

During the third day of festival, a pageant parade with chariots belonging to the rural communities on the Aries Valley will be organized.

Each of the neighbouring villages shall present to the public its specific features and its unicity, by means of an adorned chariot.

Traditional Crafts at Turda Fest 2007

The traditional crafts section shall reunite craftsmen coming from throughout the whole country.

The craftsmen's stands will be placed in the center of the town. During the festival, the artisans will offer demonstrations of their skill and art, such as crocheting lace, wood carving, painting or embroidering.

Traditional Cookery

The section dedicated to traditional Romanian cookery will give visitors the opportunity to meet the copiousness and diversity of Transylvanian culinary art. This area's purpose is to promote traditional foods, addressing to local householders, as well as tourists.

This year the first two festival days will be reserved to the cooking competition, and in the third day visitors will be able to attend a gastronomical exhibition, presented by specialists from local restaurants.

The World Record

During the festival's last edition, through the efforts of the organizers as well as the weavers from the villages Cornesti, Plaiesti and Valeni, we have managed to break the record at the world's longest onion string, formerly held by Polland.

We will continue this tradition at Turda Fest 2007, trying to break the 134 meters record that we set last year. This year's onion string will be measuring 150 meters. We will also cook the world's longest kurtos kalacs, measuring 10 meters.

Animals' Area

A section of great importance as part of an agricultural fair such as Turda Fest is the area dedicated to an animal exhibition. This will be held in the space provided by the former Brewery, and during the three days, animal lovers will be able to admire cattle, horses, sheep, goats and rabbits of Romanian and foreign breeds.

Equine activities will also take place as part of this section.

Turda Fest Kids

This year as well as the last two, the youngest participants will have an area especially arranged for them, in the Central Park. Under the guiding of teachers and Turda Fest volunteers, children will have the opportunity to take part in diverse interactive and funny activities, they will be able to ride poneys or get involved in different games.

The novelty of this year's edition shall be famous fairy tales brought to life by costumed actors telling stories.

Paintball and Archery

For those of you that seek adventure, Turda Fest has prepared a few challenging activities, including paintball games and archery competitions.

Turda Fest for Teens

The youth section at Turda Fest 2007 will include a climbing wall. Those who desire to take part in climbing activities will be assisted by proffesional mountaineers from the “Turdamont Alpinists' Association”, coordinated by Radu Oprea.

Also, as part of this section there will be a graffiti contest, where all talented youths are invited to demonstrate their skill and compete at this kind of drawings.

Open-Air Cinema

Starting with the 28th of September, a new area dedicated to quality entertainment awaits for you at Turda Fest- an open air cinema.

This is an unconventional space, where you can spend your spare time watching movies with a cultural-anthropological character. During each festival day, movie amateurs can watch short films presenting the wealth and beauty of multiethnical traditions.

The Agricultural Products Market

This section of the three-day agricultural fair Turda Fest is addressed both to merchants as well as buyers. An exhibitional market shall be arranged at Turda Fest, containing five stands with fertilizers and agricultural products- onions, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables- that will be sold all day long during the festival.

The Raffle

At Turda Fest 2007 the tradition of the raffle continues. There will be five stands selling tickets, placed in several areas of the festival. The three raffle prizes shall be offered by Turda Fest sponsors.

The Information and Business Centre

Turda Fest supports agricultors and farmers through a series of seminars dealing with agricultural themes. The courses at the centre have the purpose of informing and educating local farmers and agricultors in conformity with the demands of the European Union, supporting them to take the necessary steps for accessing european funds


Cameron Wright said...

My counterpart says she will bring fresh eggs from the farm, so we can make the eggplant dish again. With hopefully more powerful horseradish.

Mackenzie said...

That festival sounds awesome, I hope you had fun!