In the meanwhile, let us entertain you. We will start with Elvira’s foodie-meets-translator favourites.
Favourite Romanian word?
Gălușcă, because it sounds fluffy and round and comforting, just like the actual semolina balls I make for soup. A word of Slavic origins, it can be translated in various ways, depending on the region it comes from. Sometimes it’s a dumpling (think Central European bread dumplings), sometimes it’s a (rugby) ball, made with egg and semolina, similar to the matzo balls, and sometimes it’s just another word for sarma, i.e. cabbage roll, one of our favourite dishes.
Favourite foreign word?
Bundás kenyér, literally bread in a fur coat in Hungarian, one of my childhood favourites, also known to others as eggy bread or pain perdu. Such a cute name for such a simple dish, right? Where I come from, it’s usually neutral or savoury and it lends itself to quite a lot of fusions. Two of my favourites are bundás kenyér with blue cheese or with roast or grilled asparagus.
Favourite Romanian saying?
Ca sarea-n bucate. A literal translation would be ‘as salt in a dish’, but the actual meaning is indispensable. Old tales tell us that an emperor once asked his children to first state, and then prove how much they love him. When it came to his youngest, he almost banned her from the court for saying that she loved him as much as salt in a dish. Later, she proved how much she loved him by preparing a feast with no salt at all, to make him understand how indispensable salt is in any dish and the emperor is in his daughters’ life.